Maybe it’s time to fly south?

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winter clearly isn’t even for the birds.

These creatures, with some of the smallest brains in all the animal kingdom, are smart enough to know that when the cold comes, you head south.

For many feathered critters, the Miss-Lou is a perfect place to vacation for the cold months. But lately, a few may be packing their bags and programming the GPS for even warmer temperatures south of here.

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I’m considering hitching a fine, feathered ride with them.

Thankfully, our area has been safe, so far, from the freezing rain that threatened north Mississippi Tuesday. But the sky is still falling.

And falling, and falling.

The weather statisticians report that by Jan. 14 the Miss-Lou had already seen double the normal rainfall for the month.

Much of that wetness came in a two-hour period last Thursday morning when Mother Nature dumped on us. She rattled us with a tornado warning, before admitting that was just a joke. But she didn’t spare the rains.

In Natchez, St. Catherine Creek told the story well. Sometimes just a trickle, the creek — as God willed — did definitely rise. She swelled right past her banks, flooding land to the left and right with raging waters that white capped in places.

But the areas and the people most affected by the heavy rains, as usual, were across the mighty river in Concordia Parish.

On flat land with poor drainage, a downpour of Thursday’s caliber can just be too much.

Lives were impacted, and this storm didn’t even have a name or a forecast model.

By Monday, Concordia Parish grant writer Donna Remides had compiled what appears to be quite the comprehensive list of damage, complete with photos that indicate a small hurricane or levee break, not a rainy day.

Remides has photos of structures on 18 streets that experienced some type of flooding. She also has photos from more than 35 streets that were covered in water.

Among the list of structures that were surrounded by water, and appear to have had at least some interior flooding, are businesses, houses, a school and a church.

Cleanup for some of these residents is going to be costly and time-consuming.

The rain event and its flooding came just a month after taxpayers in Concordia Parish said no to a drainage tax that would fund work experts believe could prevent flooding such as Thursday’s.

But the tax had too many sticking points for the voters. First, residents had no assurance that the plan would work. Second, parish leadership was asking them to approve the tax in perpetuity.

Parish leaders are still pursuing the plan, but plan to find the money elsewhere — something many voters probably wanted all along.

Regardless of the funding source, the parish needs to find its fix soon. Thursday’s event may have been the worst rainfall parish president Melvin Ferrington has seen in 50 years, but it wasn’t the only storm to cause flooding in recent years.

Another rain will come, and more structures will suffer damage.

The Miss-Lou is entering day eight of our own 40 days and 40 nights, it seems. Weather experts say two weather systems collided to create the current situation. But it’s the effect, not the cause, that matters most to the birds — and the impacted people, too.

Too bad we can’t all make the trek south as easily as the birds do; this type of weather just isn’t for anyone.


Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or