Riding out the storms: Rain, storms expected to continue all weekendPublished 12:10am Saturday, January 12, 2013
By ROD GUAJARDO, VERSHAL HOGAN &
The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ — The Miss-Lou was drenched with rain Thursday, and residents should be prepared for another one to three inches of rain headed to the area this weekend.
Jackson National Weather Service Meteorologist Chad Entremont said the rain was expected to start Friday night and continue through Tuesday or Wednesday.
The bulk of the rain will likely come after midnight and in the early morning hours of Sunday, Entremont said.
“So that’s already going to aggravate the flooding near flooding conditions (in the area),” he said.
Entremont said there is also a risk for damaging winds and a possible tornado late today and early Sunday.
“It’s not a guarantee, but there is some potential concern as we get late into (tonight) and early Sunday for severe storms,” he said.
A cold front will also be moving into the area this weekend, with temperatures dropping quickly into the 50s and 40s Sunday, Entremont said. Temperatures could drop into the 30s Monday, he said.
In Adams County, officials will pay especially close attention to the levee at Robins Lake, which Thursday was overtopped by the drainage from the lake’s 1,000-acre watershed. Friday, Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said he would be meeting with representatives of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality about the levee.
Thursday, county crews were able to shore up the levee where the running water had damaged it, and the lake’s siphon pumps were left running to get it back to the level the MDEQ has advised, 17.5 feet below the roadway that runs across the top of the levee.
Adams County Supervisor Mike Lazarus said if the levee blows out, it will not only damage the houses in the area but that it will take out a portion of U.S. 61 South.
“That levee should have never been built, because it’s got 1,000 acres that drain into it,” Lazarus said.
“If it had not quit raining when it did, we would have lost that road. The water went over the road, and within a half hour it was half gone.”
Thousands of sandbags are available for Concordia Parish residents to pick up in preparation for more rains expected for the area Saturday and Sunday.
Chief Deputy David Hedrick said inmates at Concordia Parish Correctional Facility have been assembling the bags since Thursday to help residents combat flooding into their houses.
“They’ve been working day and night to get those ready for people to pick up,” Hedrick said. “We ask that residents only take 25, so that everyone can have some, but there are certain situations where you can request more.”
Hedrick said deputies spent the majority of Thursday in the Ferriday area helping elderly citizens evacuate their homes by boat.
While most of the water had receded by Friday morning, Hedrick said deputies continued responding to calls from residents trapped in their houses or needing sandbags.
“There was another incident (Friday) where we delivered sandbags to an elderly resident in Ferriday who wasn’t able to drive out to the prison,” Hedrick said. “Anything residents need, they just need to call and we’ll help them as best we can.”
Thursday’s storm and the heavy rains from Hurricane Isaac in August prompted Hedrick to begin looking into applying for a grant to construct a storage shed capable of holding 5,000 to 6,000 sandbags.
“If we had all those ready, waiting for people, we wouldn’t have to rush and put them together when we get rains like this,” Hedrick said. “Hopefully we can get a grant to make that happen.”
Vidalia Police Chief Arthur Lewis said the high waters mainly affected residents on Apple Street, Palm Street and Concordia Extension, but that no severe damage was reported Thursday or Friday.
Lewis recommended residents stay in their houses if heavy rains continue this weekend and call the department with any storm related damage.
Natchez Public Works worked Thursday during the heavy rainfall to clear downed trees, mudslides and drainage problems around the city.
Mayor Butch Brown said Natchez Public Works is gearing up for severe weather and rain over the next few days and is prepared to respond where needed.