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Officials ‘wait’ on river’s crest

 

NATCHEZ — Officials keeping watchful eyes on the Mississippi River in both Natchez and Vidalia said there is no cause for alarm as of yet.

The National Weather Service projects the river will reach a crest of 58 feet on the Natchez river gauge on March 11.

Thursday, Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft returned from a three-day conference in Washington, D.C., called the “Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative” with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other elected officials from riverside communities.

Craft said a larger than normal snowpack in Minnesota poses a potential threat to river communities if a rapid thaw combined with a long rainy spell should occur.

“Right now there is no cause for alarm,” Craft said. “We’ve had a lot of issues with seepage water, and we’re having to address those as they come up. … The only thing we have to do is watch.”

The river reached its highest crest at Natchez in 2011 at 61.95 feet. Adams County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford said the riverfronts are prepared for any floods below that point.

Low-lying businesses and residents along Silver Street and Bourke Road are looking out for rising water — but should be safe unless the crest changes by just a few feet. The only thing left to do, as far as the river is concerned, is wait for news, Bradford said.

“It’s pretty much a waiting game, right now,” Bradford said. “We are watching the flood, but we’re also still in severe weather season and keeping eyes on that, too.”

All of the businesses on Silver Street remain open, Bradford said, adding that most of the flood damage so far has been to farmland.

Bradford said sandbags can be requested and filled as needed by calling 601-442-7021 and can be picked up at the Natchez-Adams County Port.

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