Miss-Lou sees first flood of 2010

Published 12:19 am Wednesday, February 10, 2010

VIDALIA — The first flood fight of 2010 has begun.

The Mississippi River passed flood stage on Monday, but Levee District No. 5 President Reynold Minsky said levee district members have been watching the rising river very closely for the last week.

Sand boils — which result when water pressure from the river forces water under a levee and up through the surface — had already started to form before the river reached flood stage, Minsky said.

To combat sand boils, crews build what is essentially a well of sandbags around the boil until the water pressure equalizes. Equalizing the pressure stops the water from displacing soil material, which would undermine the levee structure.

“These boils have been there for the last two weeks, but they weren’t bringing enough material through until Monday (to warrant sandbagging),” Minsky said.

“We have sandbagged two boils at Waterproof, and we are just watching the rest of them.”

Other sand boils have begun to appear near Lake St. John and — to the north — at Lake Providence, Minsky said.

Flood stage at the Natchez-Vidalia pass is 48 feet. This morning the river is expected to stand at 48.3 feet, rising 1/10 of a foot a day until reaching a projected crest of 48.5 feet over the course of Friday and Saturday.

After that, the river is expected to start falling.

Concordia Parish Emergency Director Morris White said that Homeland Security is keeping an eye on the river, and has sandbags on hand.

“We always try to keep a supply of sandbags on hand to do whatever needs to be done,” he said.

“Right now the Natchez flow is going to stay there at 48.5, and that is all we have to worry about for now. Anything further than that would be speculation.”

While the low-lying areas of Minorca and Deer Park, located between the old and new levee systems in Concordia Parish, flood well before official flood stage, and water starts to creep under the buildings in the Wilkinson County community of Fort Adams at 45 feet, most of Adams County is geographically above flood stage.

At 48 feet, Carthage Point Road becomes impassible, and water starts to enter the former Belwood Country Club.

Water also rises into the Lake Thornburg Road and Anna’s Bottom area at 43 feet.