On Tuesday, the Delta Council released the following regarding expected Mississippi River flooding:
“According to current projections by May 20, Mississippi River stages will reach their highest flood elevation since the 1927 flood at the Vicksburg gauge. It should be noted that the 2011 information is from Sunday, April 24, National Weather Service forecasts which have not yet been fully adjusted for the 5-inch to 9-inch accumulation of rainfall that is projected across the Arkansas and Ohio River basin later this week. It is estimated that this rainfall accumulation could account for another May, 2011, adjustment at Vicksburg, of possibly as much as 12 inches to 18 inches.
“’According to our information from the Corps of Engineers, there will be a significant flood fight on the Mississippi River levees throughout the Mississippi Delta, but there is no immediate cause for concern relative to levee failure. A flood of this elevation should always be considered extremely serious, since we experience under-seepage which weakens the levee in all major floods such as this,’ stated Travis Satterfield, Chairman of the Delta Council Executive Committee.
“Other than the river-side developments of hunting clubs and other structures built on the west side of the Mississippi River levee, the most vulnerable of Delta properties are those in the South Delta which are not protected by backwater levees, on the east side of the Whittington Auxiliary Channel along the Yazoo River. Specifically, there are areas between Satartia and Yazoo City, which includes the Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, highly productive cropland in the area, county roads and the Wolf Lake area. These areas are predicted to experience (two to three feet) more water than existed in the April 2008 high water event which inundated the same areas.
“The river-side stage elevations at the Steele Bayou outlet will be 103 feet, as compared to 100.1 feet in 2008. The current crest projection for the Yazoo backwater area on the land side at the Steele Bayou gate will be 91 feet.
“’A Mississippi River flood of this magnitude is always unsettling in the Mississippi Delta and we encourage everyone to monitor these stage elevation forecasts daily, as they will be adjusted regularly between now and May 15,’ stated Satterfield, the Bolivar County farm leader.
Official reports from the Corps of Engineers state that Sardis, Enid and Grenada Lakes are in a good position relative to storage capacity for rainfall events that might occur throughout the Yazoo basin in the coming weeks. Until the precipitation is measured after the rainfall event later this week, it is currently unknown about the storage capacity of Arkabutla Reservoir. Currently, Arkabutla is positioned to manage its storage and the forecast rainfall later this week, which is scheduled to fall over its watershed.”