Flood prone areas brace for rising waters as rain continues

In September, businesses on Highway 80 were damaged by extensive flash flooding

Flood prone areas brace for rising waters as rain continues

PEARL, MS (WLBT) - Steady rainfall is in the forecast and that means the potential for flooding in the metro area.

In September, businesses on Highway 80 were damaged by extensive flash flooding. They’re hoping the drainage ditches, recently cleaned by the city, keep the water out of their businesses.

“It gets real nerve wracking whenever you see all the water come in,” said Little Willie’s BBQ manager Justin Brice.

Brice saw flood waters overtake the parking lot and enter the business just a few months ago.

Management at Little Willie's BBQ in Pearl hopes recently cleaned drains keep water from entering the business. Source: WLBT
Management at Little Willie's BBQ in Pearl hopes recently cleaned drains keep water from entering the business. Source: WLBT

Wednesday he was keeping a close eye on the weather and the steady rain that could cause flooding.

“I think we’ll be better off than we were last time since they’ve cleared out the ditches a good bit,” said Brice. “I don’t think it’ll build up nearly as much as it did during the last big storm, and, you know, the wall that we had on this store, it held off a bunch of it the first time. So I don’t think we’ll have an issue now.”

Rankin County EOC Director Mike Word is monitoring the weather system and the reservoir.

Rankin County EOC Director Mike Word is monitoring the weather system bringing rain to the metro. Source: WLBT
Rankin County EOC Director Mike Word is monitoring the weather system bringing rain to the metro. Source: WLBT

The agency is staging their high water trucks in areas around the county prone to flooding.

The vehicles are equipped with chainsaws and other tools needed to respond to flood related emergencies, even downed trees and power lines.

The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District plans to discharge as much water as possible at the reservoir without reaching flood stage in Jackson. The plan is to balance inflow and outflow.

“The water level for the reservoir is lower than it normally is at this point in the year," said Word. “And what that allows to happen is all of our neighborhoods and subdivisions there in and around the reservoir, when the water goes through the yards and gets in the drainage ditches, it actually has somewhere to go. It can literally dump into the reservoir as it was designed to do.”

Reservoir flooding; Source: WLBT
Reservoir flooding; Source: WLBT
Reservoir flooding; Source: WLBT
Reservoir flooding; Source: WLBT

The National Weather Service reports that the Pearl River is at 29-and-a-half feet. That is two-and-a-half feet above flood stage.

At 31 feet, water enters some homes and businesses along the river.

Copyright 2019 WLBT. All rights reserved.