Pearl River expected to crest at 35.5 feet


UPDATE 11:35 p.m. – The Pearl River is once again threatening to overflow into streets and properties around Hinds County, worse than what we saw last month.

Emergency operators at the state and county level are in the process of getting low lying areas prepared for the worse.

About three weeks ago we saw the Pearl River crest at almost 34.5-ft., but by this weekend the National Weather Service expects it to rise to 35.5-ft., putting 33 streets at risk of going under.

From MEMA to the Hinds County Sheriffs Office, every first responder agency is urging the public to be ready in case flooding takes over their homes.

“We will have sandbags available Tuesday and again Wednesday from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at 4225 Michael Avalon St,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s office said.

As the Pearl River hits 34-ft. places like Yucca Dr. is expected to flood out, so hearing 35.5-ft. has homeowners on edge.

“35.5-ft. is going to actually be pretty close to getting into some of these corner houses which includes mine,” Yucca Dr. homeowner Paul Flood said. “If we survive that we have to start sweating out Sunday and Monday.”

In this case, the Pearl River will reach the top of moderate flood stage forcing water to back-up into creeks like the one next to Yucca Dr. Eventually finding its way in people’s yards.

“We thought after the January scare we were home free,” Flood continued. “But here we are again as they say, so at this point, we really keep an eye on Pearl River projections.”

Further north of the reservoir, counties along the Pearl saw a combined 6-8 inches of rainfall over the past 48 hours. Putting more pressure on officials to restrict water flow through the dam to avoid extra flash flooding in Jackson and Byram.

“The National Weather Service has predicted a peak inflow to the reservoir of 71,300 cubic feet-per-second,” John Sigman of the Pearl River Valley Water District explained. “We’re in good shape at this point, the reservoir is low and we’ve got around three feet of storage.”

The Pearl River Valley Water District plans to match the outflow of water from the reservoir with the inflow speed. But the bigger threat to flooding and the reservoir overflowing will come between Sunday through Wednesday.


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Reservoir officials said they are processing another highwater event through the dam after as much as eight inches of rain had fallen over 48 hours throughout the Pearl River basin.

With more rain in the forecast, the National Weather Service is forecasting the highest river level of he year with a predicted crest of 35.5 feet on the Pearl River gauge at Jackson, either on Saturday evening or Sunday morning. At that level, the city can expect some street flooding, but reservoir leaders are working to limit the impact.

“We will begin storing water, and we will do all we can to again mitigate flooding in Jackson and other downstream locations,” said John Sigman, General Manager of Pearl River Valley Water Supply District. “We have been given a forecast of up to 71,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) flowing into the reservoir by Sunday. That is a significantly larger inflow than what we had two weeks ago (about 59,500 cfs) when the river reached 34.34 feet in Jackson. It is our plan to match the outflow to the inflow – until we reach 55,000 cfs and then start holding water.”

At 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Barnett Reservoir stood at 295.11 feet above sea level, and is forecast to crest around 298.5 early next week, if the current forecast models hold. More rain is forecast for Wednesday before the area begins clearing for two days before another front approaches this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Sigman said PRVWSD has been conservative in its release through Tuesday, giving downstream areas, like Jackson a chance to see local flash flood conditions pass before increasing outflows at the dam.

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