Eastern Delta bracing for flooding

Arkabutla Lake in Tate County was forecast to overtop its emergency spillway over the weekend, and the Coldwater River, which runs from Arkabutla in the hill area down through the east Delta, was expected to crest Monday at 40 feet, which is only 1.7 feet lower than its record in May, 1991.

“Areas stretching from Belzoni to Marks, on the eastern side of the Delta, will be experiencing extensive flooding over the weekend, similar to that flooding which occurred during December of 2001,” said Tom Gary, a Tallahatchie River farmer from Leflore County, who chairs the Stoneville-based Delta Council’s Flood Control Committee.

Although Sardis, Enid, and Grenada Lakes have remaining storage capacity to hold waters off of downstream locations in the Delta, Gary said Arkabutla Lake is overtopping full capacity and will remain in a very challenging situation for the coming months.

As winter approaches, flood control officials traditionally draw down the lakes in preparation for the spring rainfall.

The Tutwiler area of the North Delta which is affected by the Tallahatchie River at Swan Lake will experience a flood crest on Monday at a level that is an estimated 1.5 feet below the May, 1991 flood stage of record.

The Wasp Lake structure, which conveys floodwaters into the Yazoo River from a 200-square-mile area south and west of Greenwood, will remain closed due to rising floodstages on the Yazoo River at Belzoni.

It is projected that the Wasp Lake structure will remain closed for at least another 15 days, trapping all rainfall, which is currently on the ground and in the streams, in addition to any subsequent rainfall that might occur between now and October 30.

“Many areas of the Delta, such as the Greenville area, have not experienced any flooding because authorized flood control projects in the area have been completed,” said Gary.

“But as we sit high and dry here in my home town of Greenwood, I am reminded of the absolute necessity of completing all of these flood control projects in the Delta so that people in the extreme northern and southern part of the Delta can enjoy a flood-free existence.”

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