Coast Guard office turning into island

Published 1:01 am Thursday, April 17, 2008

NATCHEZ — Today the river is expected to reach 56.4 feet, by Monday 57 feet.

But just how high the Mississippi can get before it floods the U.S. Coast Guard’s office on L.E. Barry Road remains to be seen.

On Wednesday the office building began to take on the look of an island.

Email newsletter signup

Much of the parking lot is underwater and sandbags have been strategically place around the exterior.

Boatswain Mate Derek Spivey said for the past week guardsmen have been securing their facility and preparing for higher water yet to come.

Spivey said securing the facility can be tricky since the river’s projected crest has changed recently.

“Hopefully we won’t get any water in the building,” he said. “But we’ll be ready if we do.”

Spivey speculated the river would get as high as 58 feet before the building took on any water.

But while the building is currently free of water the area surrounding the facility is not.

Spivey said the storage sheds have been cleared out and buoys have been secured in areas that have already succumbed to the river.

Since the walkway leading from the office to the cutter Briarwood, their boat, is also underwater the guardsman have built an elevated walkway from the huge weights used to secure the buoys.

It isn’t likely the weights will go anywhere though, they weigh 1,500 pounds each.

Spivey said in the event the office takes on water, the Coast Guard will continue its duties.

“We’ll be ready for any task at hand,” he said. “No matter the circumstance.”