After advising Jackson, Mississippi, residents to “get out now,” the mayor of the state’s largest city is now pleading with them to heed evacuation alerts as record-breaking rain is expected to threaten to flood streets and seep into homes over the next two days.
The mayor of Mississippi issues a warning to citizens to leave before the river levels rise
In a Sunday evening interview with CNN’s Pamela Brown, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said, “We urge them to get out and be praying that the worst does not occur.” “We don’t want to run the danger of it happening and they being in their houses,” the speaker said.
Due to the rain, authorities had previously forecast that the Pearl River in Mississippi would crest at 36 feet and reach its highest point by Tuesday. However, the river is now anticipated to do so late Sunday into Monday night before gradually falling. People should leave the city “as quickly as possible,” Lumumba told CNN earlier, expressing his concern over a repeat of the disastrous flooding that occurred in February 2020.
Unfortunately, we have a point of reference and are aware of the devastation that can result because we have witnessed these events as recently as 2020, he said. Lumumba added, “If we endanger the life of one person, that’s one person too many.” “Over the past three days, there has been relentless rain that has drenched our citizens.”
Due to the increasing river waters, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves issued a state of emergency on Saturday and advised the populace to maintain calm. According to the announcement, the state has already started employing drones to monitor water levels along the river and has placed more than 100,000 sandbags.
According to Reeves, “the state of Mississippi is as ready as it can be for this disaster.” My administration, along with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, is aggressively trying to respond as swiftly as can to ongoing developments with flooding.
Although river levels aren’t anticipated to be as high this week as they were in 2020, Lumumba told CNN that’s no excuse to underestimate the flood floods. Lumumba claimed that after the flooding incident in 2020, authorities have been better able to advise locals on how to prepare for the flood by photographing their houses and identifying their important papers.
No matter how many homes are damaged this time, the mayor added, “it’s a handful too many that can be impacted for those homes that are impacted.” Therefore, we want to ensure that after we have recovered, this will no longer be a common occurrence in the city of Jackson.
At 26 feet, a flood level is deemed “significant” in the city. The Pearl River will reach its current crest on Monday morning at 35.5 feet, according to the National Weather Service projection. As many as 150 homes are anticipated to be impacted by the flooding, Lumumba said on Saturday.
“We are anticipating waters to begin to reach areas as early as Sunday evening.” According to a press release from the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, the inflows into the Ross R. Barnett Reservoir crested on Sunday morning, but “there is still a lot of water that must travel downstream.”
Jackson receives water from the 33,000-acre reservoir, which is located upstream of the Pearl River. Not for the first time had the river risen to such a height. During a large flooding storm in February 2020, several neighborhoods in north-east Jackson and downtown Jackson were submerged, and the Pearl River rose to its third-highest peak on record, measuring 36.7 feet.
Authorities have issued a warning that there is a very high likelihood that towns devastated by the storm in 2020 will experience another flood. Within 48 hours, residents in those affected areas should be prepared to depart, according to Lumumba on Saturday.
The mayor gave residents a heads-up that floodwaters might stay on the ground for several days and that they should be ready to spend up to two weeks away from their houses. Due to the city’s flooding, Jackson Public Schools announced on Saturday that all McLeod Elementary School students would switch to virtual learning on Monday and Tuesday.
The letter said that affected students from other schools in the district could attend classes online or in person. According to the district’s announcement on Sunday, the low water pressure caused Forest Hill High and Timberlawn Elementary schools to switch to virtual instruction on Monday and Tuesday as well.
All students who have switched to virtual learning will have access to meals at Spann Elementary, Chastain Middle, and Murrah High schools, according to the district. The National Weather Service reported that a flood warning is still in place for some of Mississippi, including Jackson and the area around the Pearl River, until further notice.
Residents of Ridgeland, Mississippi, which is north of Jackson and was forced to evacuate due to flooding in 2020, had to repack their luggage. “I’m hoping it won’t grow worse. All we ask for in our prayers is that “Krystal Ferguson, a resident of Ridgeland, spoke with CNN affiliate WAPT. She claimed that during the flooding in 2020, her family ended up spending five days in a motel.
This week, a sluggish weather system soaked sections of the South, causing flash floods in Mississippi that necessitated several rescues, necessitated evacuations, washed away highways, derailed a train, and seeped into homes. The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District upped the discharge from Barnett Reservoir to 60,000 cubic feet per second on Saturday morning following significant rainfall, a move the district warned will cause Jackson streets to flood.
Water district officials issued a news release on Saturday morning stating that “water will be in many streets in Jackson and might start reaching some residences and businesses.” “During the following 24 hours, it is anticipated that the discharge will grow again, which could lead to water entering residences.”
According to CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam, Sunday’s risk of flooding will be confined to a small area as slow-moving thunderstorms reform over the day. By Sunday night, sporadic thundershowers could deliver another 1-2 inches of rain, primarily south of Interstate 20.
Highs in the middle to upper 80s will continue to be hot and muggy. The mayor of Jackson encouraged people not to enter flooded areas. Lumumba stated, “We do not need tourists, and we do not need you putting yourself or those who are assisting with rescue efforts in danger.”
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