Mississippi River above flood stage for 137 days

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 22, 2019

NATCHEZ — The Mississippi River has been above the flood stage of 48 feet at Natchez for 137 days as of Tuesday, which is well longer than any time since 1927 when the previous record of 77 days above flood stage at Natchez was set.

“The Mississippi River has been above flood stage at Natchez since Jan. 4,” said Marty Pope, senior hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Jackson.

Also as of Tuesday the Mississippi River reached its projected crest of 57.39 feet at Natchez, which is just below the March 11 crest of 57.83 feet, which was the third highest crest ever recorded at Natchez.

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Pope said the river is expected to stay at the 57.39 feet level, give or take a 10th of an inch, for three to four days with little fluctuation.

“It’ll be there for the next three or four days before it starts doing a much better fall,” Pope said. “It may drop just slightly but overall we won’t get a good fall at least until it gets beyond that three or four days.”

Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said he continues to watch the river stage every day, and seepage and ground saturation are causing some problems in Vidalia, as rainfall has nowhere to run off.

Craft said cutting grass is difficult with the ground saturation.

A Sunday morning downpour caused some problems, Craft said.

“It really flooded our riverfront Sunday,” Craft said. “Our pumps did not come on and that caused the flooding.”

Craft said the pumps had been struck by lightning, which caused them not to come on. When the pumps did come on, however, the water was pumped out quickly, Craft said.

Pope said he estimates the Mississippi River at Natchez will stay above flood stage through late June and perhaps even into July, but he does not expect the river to go much above its current level of 57.39 feet.

Pope said, 5-to-7-inches of rainfall is expected over the next seven days in the northwestern Missouri, northeast Kansas and southeastern Iowa area.

“The upper part of the river will go back up again, like up around Cairo, Illinois, where the confluence of the two rivers — the Ohio and the Mississippi come together,” Pope said, adding the rainfall there is expected to have little effect on the river level at Natchez by the time it moves down river. “Natchez right now looks like it will stay above 54 feet at least through the 18th of June.”

Craft said once the high water levels move out, city officials will be on top of any sink holes or issues left from the high water.