Corps of Engineers prepares to handle rising Mississippi River - - Jackson, MS

Corps of Engineers prepares to handle rising Mississippi River

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
VICKSBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The wheels are in motion to prepare for the rising Mississippi River. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already started mobilizing teams to walk and ride the levees. They'll decide if they need helicopters to help monitor those areas as the River approaches its crest.

"You can get up on top and ride the whole levee," said Dale Maxwell.

Dale Maxwell's family has owned a convenience store on Eagle Lake for decades. He moved everything in the 2011 flood.

"I believe you know they say you learn with age and I'm just a little bit more frightened this time," Maxwell admitted.

But the Army Corps of Engineers said the levees are better prepared than before to hold the rising waters.

"We had about 20 sites that we identified as heavy seepage concerns," explained Mississippi River levees Senior Project Manager Rick Shelton. "Congress authorized money to repair those areas. So, all those 20 sites or so have all been repaired. So, were in much better shape than we were in 2011."

They've also built some of the levees up, making them taller.

"We've raised a number of miles since the 2011 flood that won't need additional levels of protection in this flood event," Shelton said.

The River reached 57 feet that year. It's forecasted to crest three feet lower this year.

"That's a lot of weight that's being taken off of a levee," Shelton described. "So, it can be a significant amount of weight for every foot that it's lowered. Three feet can make a significant difference."

Even still, some folks around Eagle Lake have decided to pack up the farm equipment and not gamble with Mother Nature.

The Corps says it will begin meeting with emergency management in all the counties along the River and brief residents on what to expect.
The River is expected to crest at 54 feet on January 16 in Vicksburg.

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