Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Robert Latham visited two damaged Mississippi dams in Lamar and Pike counties Wednesday.
Latham spoke with local and state officials to ensure all the needed state resources were available to protect local residents, while officials work to lower the water level on these two lakes.
Because it is uncertain how any additional rainfall may impact these dams, work will continue until the risk to the public is eliminated.
Federal, state and local officials are assessing the damage, and pumping water to relieve the pressure on the Lake Serene dam in Lamar County.
Pumping began last night with two-12 inch pumps. The pumps are moving approximately 6,000 to 8,000 gallons of water per minute. It is estimated that the water level is dropping at a rate of about an inch per hour.
A precautionary evacuation of 14 homes below the Buccaneer Drive Dam on Oak Grove Lake in Lamar County was issued by the Lamar County Emergency Management Agency yesterday. A slide occurred on the dam Monday, and further damage to the slide prompted the precautionary evacuation.
"After visiting Lake Serene today in Lamar County and talking with James Smith, Lamar County EMA Director, I am confident that the decision to ask some citizens to evacuate last night was the right call," said Latham. "Efforts to reduce the water level continue. Even though the dam has not breached, the slides caused by Hurricane Isaac have definitely affected the integrity of the levee."
Officials from the federal, state and local governments remain on scene to assess the damage and pumping operations at the Pike County dam. Responding agencies are evaluating the water levels to further assess the damage at Lake Tangipahoa.
Thirty-three pumps are pumping more than 140,000 gallons of water per minute. The dam continues to hold.
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