River reaches flood stage

Published 12:13 am Monday, January 4, 2016

NATCHEZ — The Mississippi River at Natchez reached flood stage Saturday evening and is expected to continue to rise.

Forecaster Anna Wolverton with the Jackson office of the National Weather Service said the river level reached 48 feet on the Natchez gauge at approximately 6 p.m. Saturday.

On Sunday, the river measured 48.55 feet. Adams County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford said Carthage Point Road was shut down Saturday night, and, at 50 feet, water would start to rise on Silver Street.

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By Jan. 17, the river is projected to rise to 60 feet, Bradford said. The 2011 record watermark, which flooded Vidalia, was 61.95 feet.

If it rains between now and then within the Mississippi River Basin, Wolverton said the forecasted crest could rise.

“We’re two weeks out so a lot of weather could happen between now and then,” Wolverton said.

Residents living around the levee should be cautious, Wolverton said, as a breech in a levee is always a possibility.

“Just take precautions if you’re located near the Mississippi River,” Wolverton said.

Concordia Parish declared a state of emergency Tuesday in response to the rising river levels. Bradford said he planned to recommend Adams County do the same today.

Declaring a state of emergency allows local governments to assist residents and business owners in disaster situations, as well as possibly receive reimbursements from state and federal emergency management agencies.

Natchez Mayor pro tem Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis said last week the city has been in contact with property owners in low-lying areas. Arceneaux-Mathis also said public works was reviewing materials it needed during the 2011 flood.

Today at 10:30 a.m., Arceneaux-Mathis and representatives from Natchez Public Works, police and fire departments, Natchez Water Works, the county road department, emergency management and other officials plan to meet at the 361 shelter for a conference call with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

Bradford said issues including plans for area shut downs and the emergency action plan will be discussed.