Pearl River flooding turns driveways into raging rivers in Byram


BYRAM, Miss. (WJTV) – About 15 miles down the Pearl River from downtown Jackson, the city of Byram has also been taking on floodwater, keeping people on edge.

So far no mandatory evacuations have been issued for those west of I-55, but there’s a lot of possible outcomes they need to be ready for.

The legendary Swinging Bridge behind me is completely cut off on both sides and as the Pearl River inches closer towards communities in Byram most roads in its path were built after the 1983 flood so many have no full idea what to expect.

As floodwater inches closer to Janet Loftin’s rented cabin, the unknown of how much the water may damage her belongings is taking a toll on her.

“Very stressful, if the floodwater gets in well have to start all over again from scratch,” Loftin told us.

Responsible for her elderly father, who’s also disabled, moving their valuable belongings has been a real uphill battle.

“I can just move the bare minimum out of here,” Loftin continued. “Of what we’ve got to have like medicine, and things like that.”

You want to waste no time evacuating if water begins to take over your property. Water from the Pearl can back up over it creating dangerous rapids.

“We’re staying at a holiday inn in Byram,” Walt Covington said. “And hopefully we can get back in on Thursday depending on the river.”

“It was scary,” Kathy Covington said. “He was driving and I was leaning on the seat against him. But it was scary and kind of wiggly.”

Near Old Byram Rd. a couple of homes have already lost big portions of their farmland, forcing people to rely on boats to get sandbags.

“Hectic, trying to get things moved out,” Eva Williamson explained. “Our beds and furniture and people coming in don’t know where anything is because we’ve thrown it in the trailer.”

On Florence-Byram Rd. one driver crashed into a flooded field, deputies say he likely wasn’t watching the road watching the flooding instead.

“People are not paying attention to their driving,” Lt. Jeffrey Middleton said. “They’re looking at the water, they’re looking at what’s around them and not driving. That’s the case of what happened here it was just distracted driving.”

Mayor Richard White and every other Alderman and Alderwoman in Byram want to urge people to document with pictures and videos when floods are rising around the roads and their homes to get a more clear record of when neighborhoods are at risk in the future.

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