Rains starting to dampen drought across state - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Rains starting to dampen drought across state

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
ROSS BARNETT RESERVOIR, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Rains are starting to dampen the drought across the state of Mississippi.

Since last week, mother nature brought close to a foot in water back into the Ross Barnett Reservoir. Runoff from the rains continue to fill the lake, but they're still a way's from a normal level.

"It's still almost two feet low, but it is rising and it will rise for the next seven to eight days with our forecast from the national weather service," said John Sigman, General Manager of the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District. "So were going to go ahead and open up the ramps."

The rains are also dampening the chance of wildfires.

Grass and vegetation that dried out early this year, now soaked in the showers, has a lower chance of sparking a flame.

Forestry officials say they've already battle 11,000 acres in wildfires this year.

"Even though the rain is starting to fall, the vegetation because of the drought is so dead that once the rain has fallen, the fire fuels dry out really quickly because they are so dead," said Russell Bozeman with the Mississippi Forestry Commission. "Conditions have gotten much better."

Were not completely out of the woods yet according to forestry officials. 

"To keep fire occurrences low, we need rain in periodic intervals," Bozeman added. "The forecast looks very good for that."

More rain can only help reservoir levels.  

"Typically in January is when we have our monsoon season if you will and typically we'll fill the lake up by the end of February," Sigman explained. "So hopefully in the next several days we'll continue to see it rise."

Reservoir officials are also reminding boaters to still use caution, because there are still sandbars and other obstacles, barely submerged, which could pose a danger.

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