YAZOO COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – It has been since February since I’ve been anywhere but work, Walmart and home. And poor Miz Jo hasn’t left the house. So yesterday, we filled up the car and headed to the land of our youth: the Delta. Only in the South Delta, there isn’t much land. It’s mostly water.
I never take the four lane when there is a perfectly good back road that goes to the same place. More scenery.
Well, the advantage of the four lane highways is they are usually built above flood stage. And the back roads in the South Delta, the ones off the main highways, scenic as they may be normally, are likely as not going to lead you to a watery dead end right now.
There was serious flooding in the South Delta last year. Little Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church on Floweree Road in Warren County ended up with four feet of water inside. Well, Evergreen is flooded again this year. But this year, the members managed to move the pews out ahead of time because they knew what to expect.
There are two factors that work in tandem to causes this kind of flooding. One, the levees and flood gates built to keep the Mississippi River from backing up Steel Bayou and flooding like this annually into the South Delta also traps rain water inside the levees and funnels it here; into the living rooms of homes and show rooms of businesses and over fields that should have already been turned up for planting. Pretty much anywhere south of Satartia to Holly Bluff to Rolling Fork.
Normal years, the rain wouldn’t be that much of a problem. But wet years, like we’ve had lately, coupled with and abnormally high Mississippi River, overloads the system and the Delta can’t drain.
There was a solution proposed for this situation when they built the levees; install pumps to move the water out of the Delta and across the levee back into the Mississippi River. Lowering the Delta six or eight feet would only raise the river something like three inches, thereby putting life back into this water desert that the south Delta has become for six months out of the year.
Supposedly those pumps have the green light in Washington. Thank you to our senators and congressmen for pushing that through. Because an annual flood kills the delicate wetlands that not building the pumps was supposed to protect. And it doesn’t do a lot of good for people who live there, either.
My friend, Mike Jones, at Bait and Thangs on Lake Washington at Glen Allan says he’s registered over 100 inches of rain in his gauge the last few years. Already over 50 inches this year. A normal year has 70 inches on average in that part of the Delta.