Watches, Warnings & Advisories for Sunflower Co.

Monday, May 2, 2011

MS River Flooding - 5/2/2011

10:50PM 5/3/2011 - I removed the map pictures.  Their accuracy became too questionable for me to maintain their presence here.  New maps, that I believe to be more well-informed, have been posted in

NOTE: There have been thousands of views of this entry since it was posted.  This posting has been linked to from many different sources.  Please note that these maps were the "first glance" at what could happen in the 2011 Mississippi floods.  A note was included, stating that these maps represent only a projection, and NOT a definitive depiction of inundation areas, and that these maps would be revised.  They are being revised.  If you interpret these maps as definitive, you are incorrect.  The intention behind posting this was to raise a greater degree of awareness of the potential threat.  You are encouraged and directed to verify any information contained herein against other sources.  If you are a Mississippi Delta resident in flood threatened areas, you should seek information from your city and county officials.  They have the best picture for your local situation.  Flooding is a dynamic phenomenon, and many variables affect the final inundation areas.  Even the experts in predicting floods don't always agree on what the final picture will look like. - May 3, 2011

The Mississippi River is expected to crest very near 1927 record flood levels in the coming weeks.  A river stage forecast is included at the end of this email for reference.  Arkansas City is currently expected to crest on 5/14/11 at 53.5ft.  Arkansas City record flood was 4/21/1927 at 59.2ft.  The river at Greenville, MS is expected to crest on 5/15/11 at 64.5ft.  The record stage there was 4/21/1927 at 65.4ft.  These are crest dates only.  There will be a rise prior to, and a fall after the crest date.

While difficult to predict, some areas could remain flooded for 30 days.

The potential problem for a large portion of the Delta comes not from the Mississippi River, but from the Yazoo River.  Some geography first:  Areas generally west of Indianola are drained by streams that empty into the Yazoo River through Steele Bayou north of Vicksburg.  Floodgates on Steele Bayou are closed, keeping the Mississippi from backing up stream. 

The Yazoo River, however, is not gated, and therefore empties directly into the Mississippi at Vicksburg.  With the Mississippi River forecast to go so high, it will back up into the Yazoo Basin.  Areas to the east and south of the immediate Indianola area are drained by the Yazoo.

This image was produced over the weekend, when flood stages were predicted to be lower.  It illustrates the projected maximum area of flooding from Yazoo backwater.  NOTE: This is a projection only, and is being revised, and will likely include more areas.  There is no way to predict flooding on a street-by-street level, as roadways, highways, and other features may block waters in any given area.  Blue areas are forecast flood areas. (More text following picture)

This next image illustrates the full Delta area (more text following picture).

I do NOT wish to sound alarmist.  I cannot ever recall seeing flood projections like this for the heart of the Delta.  I encourage you to begin work today to take whatever steps necessary to protect you valuables, your homes, and you family.  Granted, these floods may not materialize, and may not be terribly deep.  But we certainly could expect to see issues develop regarding infrastructure (transportation - road closures, possible water/sewer issues, etc.) 

Other things you can consider:
  • Drinking water - 1 gallon per person, per day.  One case of 16oz water (24 bottles) is enough for 3 people per day.
  • Non-perishable, high-energy foods (anybody in the family have special diets?)
  • Cash-on-hand, should power be lost.
  • Battery-powered lights & radios
  • Well-documented medical information (medical history, current prescriptions, etc).
  • Adequate supply of prescription medications
  • Pets?  Relocate them to family outside of the area?
There are a host of online resources for more information on family disaster planning.  You can start with

The graphic below illustrates the current forecast for Mississippi River stages.  No further text occurs beyond the image.  I'll provide you another update as more information becomes available.


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