After several days of rising tides, Mississippi braces for more intense flooding as Gov. Tate Reeves (R) declares this week, Feb. 17-21, as Spring Severe Weather Preparedness Week.
This announcement comes as the Magnolia State has grappled with flooding from the Pearl River that resulted in hundreds of evacuees in central Mississippi near Jackson, according to an Associated Press (AP) report. The Pearl River stretches from Mississippi to Louisiana, with Jackson sitting at the top.
The Pearl River at Jackson is currently at 36.65 feet and rising. Continue to take precautions and always remember #TurnAroundDon'tDrown!— NWS Jackson MS (@NWSJacksonMS) February 17, 2020
It is still set to crest on Monday at 37.5 feet. #PearlFlood2020 pic.twitter.com/LgmZRljTI5
For Mississippi, this past winter has been a wet one; officials have reportedly been forced to drain some reservoirs to make room for more rainfall, which can negatively affect people living downstream. Since Feb. 10, however, the weather in the Southeast part of the country has been particularly severe.
The increased rainfall has caused Pearl River waters to rise to approximately 37 feet, with predictions only calling for a foot's worth of retreat by midnight. However, with rain in the forecast, the flooding may not relent as soon as some hope.
In a press conference, Reeves advised citizens to “not move back into your neighborhood or into your home until authorities and officials give you the OK to do so.”
In between the downpour, some residents in and near Jackson have traveled to check on their abandoned home by kayak, canoe and even small boats. Some entered, some only peered into windows to try and evaluate any damage. One estimate from CBS News said that more than 200 homes have sustained damage.
So far, four injuries have been reported, per the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. That could increase, however, as severe thunderstorms, flash flooding and rainfall are all expected to occur this week.
Additionally, once high waters recede, damage to public and private facilities, as well as city infrastructure, will be revealed.
Other Southern states including Tennessee, South Carolina, Louisiana and Alabama have all been issued similar flash flood watch alerts, according to ABC news.
Speaking with the AP, Tennessee Valley Authority spokesman Jim Hopson said that these February rains have been “400 percent of normal, and we have more coming in this week. It’s kind of a never-ending battle.”