River crest goes up again

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 11, 2008

VIDALIA — If the most current prediction stays afloat the Mississippi River will rise to its fourth-highest recorded crest.

The National Weather Service forecast, released Thursday morning, pushed the river’s crest at the Natchez-Vidalia pass a foot higher and five days later than previously predicted to 56.5 feet on April 20.

The forecast was revised because of rainfall over the Arkansas River basin.

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“There is a lot of flooding along the white river and the Arkansas River has gained quite a bit,” NWS Hydrologist Marty Pope said.

The northern parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin had the equivalent of six to seven inches of rainfall in the form of snow recently, but when the thaw begins most of that water will go into Lake Superior.

“What is going to come down the Mississippi River from that snow melt is going to be fairly insignificant this year,” Pope said.

When the river reached a height of 56.7 feet in 1973, it took approximately a month for the waters to recede to below flood stage.

“What is going to keep the river up longer is that we are still going to get a secondary crest up the river,” Pope said. “That won’t make the water rise higher, but it will leave it up longer.”

Even with the revised forecast, there is some good news, Pope said.

“We look to have at least seven days of decent weather either here or across the Ohio Valley,” he said.