Level of the Pearl River rising - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Level of the Pearl River rising

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Pearl River at Jackson is now above its flood stage of 28 feet and will continue rising to a crest above 33 feet by next Sunday. 

The level of the Pearl rose over 20 feet in two days thanks to Tropical Storm Lee. 

The most important fact about this rise on the river is that it is not expected to get into any houses in Jackson. It takes about 35 feet or more for that to happen.  

The gates at the Barnett Reservoir are being gradually opened more to let the rainfall, of more than 12 inches in some areas, out of the big lake. 

Marty Pope, hydrologist with the Jackson office of the National Weather Service tells us what to expect. 

"We are looking at the Jackson forecast of 33 and a half, from 33 to 34. That puts water in the streets, various utility people have to take action throughout the city, the levee board people have to take some actions as well." 

John Sigman, Reservoir manager, decides how much to open the gates after conferring with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service. He says we are very lucky with this system, despite its large amounts of rain, because the soil was so dry. 

"The soil is so dry it is absorbing up to 50 percent of the water that fell. If this had occurred when we had a full river and saturated ground, we would have had a serious flood." 

Rainfall totals include 12.34 inches at Walnut Grove, in the Pearl River Basin, Forest with 11.75 inches, Jackson Evers International Airport received 10.68 inches and Florence got 12.29 inches. 

Sigman has all ten gates at the Reservoir releasing water, but he says he will be doing all he can to keep the release low enough to keep from causing damage in Jackson.  

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