High waters bring visitors to Miss-Lou

Published 2:02 am Thursday, April 10, 2008

VIDALIA — At 54.5 feet this morning, the Mississippi River at the Natchez-Vidalia pass stands 6.5 feet above flood stage and almost 16.5 feet above its normal stage for this time of year.

And while that may have locals keeping a wary eye on the river, it has attracted at least two river-loving sojourners to the area.

“We came to see the river,” said Nancy Ray, of Longview, Texas, who along with her husband Eddie is staying at the Riverview RV Park in Vidalia, where the water has crept above the riverbank and almost into the campground.

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“One of my interests is the flood basin of this area and the flood control structures they have,” Eddie Ray said.

The two were sitting in lawn chairs near the waterline in the RV park Wednesday, reading and gauging how far the water has come since their arrival.

“The water has definitely come up since yesterday,” Eddie Ray said. “There were places you could walk yesterday that you can’t now.”

Meanwhile, a strange sight seems to have sprung up on the Vidalia Riverwalk.

Sandbags have been placed around drains, effectively keeping water from entering them.

But the reason that was done was to keep water in, Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said.

“Generally, the drains are for the purpose of the water flowing in from the street out to the river,” Copeland said. “There is a drain flap that will keep water from coming back into the drain and keep it from flowing back onto the street.”

The problem is that the drain flap is not working right now, which would allow river water to backflow through the drains Copeland said.

Should it rain and water gets trapped on the street, which serves as a drain for the riverfront, the city has a pump on standby to remove the water, Copeland said.

The river is expected to crest at 55.5 feet April 15.