Although the Mississippi River appears to have crested around Arkansas City, Arkansas, the devastation of Yazoo River backwater flooding in the lower Mississippi Delta will not ease up for months.
The Mississippi River at Vicksburg went above flood stage on February 17, 2019, and has remained in flood stage – 43’ – for 90 days. This is the longest continuous stretch above flood stage since the 1927 flood, according to the The National Weather Service.
The good news is that the river has crested at Arkansas City, Arkansas, and will be falling in the next few days around Vicksburg and Greenville, Mississippi.
The bad news is that the lower Delta Yazoo backwater is above 97-feet.
Backwater in the southern Mississippi Delta has forced wildlife to take refuge on the dry spots. Gaines Lamensdorf in Cary, Mississippi, used his camera drone, to capture footage of a herd of deer running through one of the family’s pecan orchards.
The Mississippi Levee Board’s May 17 forecast:
- The Backwater (landside) is at 97.74’ and the riverside is at 97.75’.
- The Steele Bayou Structure Gates were closed Saturday, May 11th.
- The Backwater is expected to crest between 98’ to 98.5’ – which is higher than the record (97.2’) we just set on March 31st.
- At 98’ the Backwater will flood 540,800 acres including over 223,700 acres of Crop Land.
- The Backwater has overtopped several roads: Blanton Road (92’), Spanish Fort Road (92.5’), Goose Lake Road (93.4’), Low-water Bridge Road (93.7’), Hwy 465 (between the YBW Levee and Eagle Lake Gin), Hwy 16 in the Delta National Forest between Rolling & Holly Bluff (96.0’), Satartia Road east of Holly Bluff, and Hwy 465 near Hwy 1.
- Wolf Lake crested at 101. 38 on March 14th and is currently at 98.88’.
- With the current river forecast – Wolf Lake is predicted to reach around 99.5’.
- The Satartia Road east of the Will Whittington East Guide Levee is closed.
- Hwy 149 should remain open at this predicted crest.
- Eagle Lake is currently at 93.19’. This is the highest Eagle Lake has been since 1973.
- The Backwater started overtopping the Muddy Bayou Structure on May 9th. This overtopping is adding water to Eagle Lake.
Eagle Lake Residents
The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) closed Hwy 465 on the riverside of the levee on February 23. MDOT closed Hwy. 465 on the protected side of the levee between the Yazoo Backwater Levee and the Eagle Lake Gin on March 4. The Mississippi Levee Board closed the YBW Levee at Hwy 61 on March 4 due to the thousands of deer that are trapped on the Brunswick Extension Levee and the concern for public safety.
MDOT has closed off Hwy 465 near Hwy 1. Eagle Lake residents in light vehicles can travel up Hwy 61 to Onward, MS, then take Hwy 1 North over to Fitler, MS and then take the Mainline Mississippi River Levee South to get back and forth to Eagle Lake. This is a narrow gravel road and water is on both sides of the levee. Only light traffic will be allowed – no trucks.
The Corps of Engineers continues to inspect the levee. No issues have been found. At this predicted crest we do not anticipate any major issues on the levee.