Crest day moved as areas flood

Published 12:02 am Monday, May 9, 2011

Emily Lane/The Natchez Democrat — The ever-rising water has begun encroaching on previously dry lands, though, including above, the Bunge grain elevator in Vidalia.

NATCHEZ — The National Weather Servcice Sunday kept the crest forecast at 64 feet for Natchez, but the Mississippi River is now expected climb to its highest level a day sooner.

Forecasters now predict the river will crest at 64 feet on May 21.

The Mississippi River in Natchez stood at 55.79 feet Sunday, up 0.82 feet from the day before.

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The record crest in Natchez is 58.04 in 1937.

The river level broke records Sunday in Greenville, where it reached a 60.60-foot crest. Greenville’s previous record was 58.20 feet in 1973.

Crews continued working early Sunday to build temporary levees to protect buildings the Vidalia Riverfront and Silver Street in Natchez.

Water had not yet breached the Vidalia Riverfront Saturday. The water level appeared to be between approximately one and two feet from riverfront’s edge.

Water covered approximately 200 feet of road at the lowest point of Silver Street Sunday.

Emily Lane/The Natchez Democrat — City and inmate crews have constructed a large mound around the city’s water well.

The Fulton Street Ramp Under-the-Hill was under water Saturday, but the parking lot area was clear.

Crews on Silver Street continued constructing a Hesco Bastion instant levee, which will stretch from the Isle of Capri Office to the Under-the-Hill Saloon when completed.

Workers began pouring concrete over exposed sand from the Hesco containers Sunday.

Denton Biglane, whose family owns property on Silver Street, said the concrete should prevent water from swirling into and removing exposed sand in the containers.

Natchez Police restricted cars Sunday on Silver Street to avoid dangerous traffic congestion with heavy equipment, City Engineer David Gardner said.

Gardner said police may continue to restrict traffic until the wall is completed. He said cars can currently drive only as far as the first parking lot on the east side of the street until the construction is finished.

Regular, two-way access for cars on Silver Street will likely resume up to the Magnolia Grill parking lot after the wall is built, Gardner said.

The street is still open to walkers much of the way down. Both Magnolia Grill and the Under-the-Hill Saloon are be open for business as normal.

On the Vidalia Riverfront sand was unloaded from barges Sunday to fill Hesco Bastion instant levees placed around the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center.

Inmates at Corrections Corporations of America’s Natchez facility filled sandbags at the prison for the City of Natchez Saturday and Sunday, Gardner said.

Gardner said he plans for city crews to pick up 10,000 filled bags today to help fortify the Natchez Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Silver Street sewage lift and J.M. Jones Lumber Company.

Deer Park, Minorca, Giles Island, Anna’s Bottom and the St. Catherine Creek Wildlife refuge are flooded. None of these areas are protected by levees.

Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said a Search and Rescue boat responded to a report in the Mississippi River Sunday.

Rescue crews towed a recreational boat to safety because the boat’s power could not handle riding back north in the river’s stronger-than-normal current. Owens said the boat was approximately one mile south of the Mississippi River when rescue crews were called to the scene.

Owens advised boaters to be wary of the river’s current.

“People need to understand this is the mighty Mississippi,” Owens said.