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Vidalia mayor: Threat of higher waters not entirely over


VIDALIA — Though the Mississippi River reached its crest Monday at 57.83 feet and is projected to recede, the threat of higher waters is not entirely over, Vidalia officials said.

During Tuesday’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting, Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft advised local residents that a springtime thaw in the northernmost section of the Mississippi River has not yet occurred.

The temperature change has the potential to either make the river rise again or do no harm at all, Craft said.

“Right now … a slow thaw would not be a problem,” Craft said. “It would be spread out enough over time that it would have no effect. However, there is a possibility that a heat wave could melt the snow, coupled with heavy rain in the Mississippi valley and above. … Just be informed, watch the news and listen to what the experts say.”

Craft said the best time to be prepared is while no danger is imminent, and he advised residents of areas prone to flooding to take care of any emergency planning needs that would take more time to sort through — such as getting flood insurance or storing valuables in a safe location.

“Make plans ahead of time, while there is no danger,” Craft said. “Right now, there is not a danger. … There is nothing to be alarmed about. … I have complete faith in our Corps of Engineers, and if something were to happen they would give us enough notice for us to be out of harm’s way.”

Craft said high water has caused several sinkholes and damages to subsurface infrastructure that cannot be addressed until the water recedes and asked Vidalia residents to be patient.

In other matters during the Vidalia Board of Aldermen meeting, with Aldermen Robert Gardner and Triand McCoy absent, the board:

  • Approved the purchase of a utility bucket truck from Altec Industries for $196,495 by a vote of 3-0.
  • Approved minutes for previous meetings by a vote of 3-0.
  • Approved on a 3-0 vote, an occupational license for a new owner of the Butt Hutt restaurant and an outdoor sign application for a new event rental facility at 400 Carter Street.