Community continues to recover from severe weather, flash flooding

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

Recovery efforts and damage assessments continue following severe weather, heavy rainfall and flash flooding throughout the Yazoo community.

Jack Willingham, the county emergency management director, said the area had anywhere from ten inches to a foot of rainfall over the last few days throughout Yazoo County. He added that he is waiting for an official number from the National Weather Service.

“Numerous roads have been damaged,” he said. “But we are in recovery mode right now, cleaning up. Also, there have been no injuries reported.”

Yazoo County declared a state of emergency from the recent heavy rainfall and flash flooding, as well as damage from the two tornadoes that touched down last week in the Little Yazoo and Vaughan communities. The city of Yazoo City also declared the same proclamation for flash flooding within the city limits.

“Those are basically proclamations that give us the ability to ask the state for assistance,” Willingham added.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter Tuesday at King Solomon Church, located at 1409 Calhoun Avenue in Yazoo City. Deborah Atkins, with the Red Cross, said the shelter is open 24-hours a day, providing a place to sleep, three meals and snacks.

“We try to take care of all of the immediate needs,” Atkins said. “How long we remain open depends on the disaster because the water could get higher or last a long time.”

About six people visited the shelter Wednesday night during a storm. But as of press time, only one person was confirmed as staying overnight within the shelter.

As the flood waters begin to recede, it is the aftermath left that has many volunteers, first responders and workers picking up the pieces. Roads must be cleared of trees and debris. Damaged utility lines must be replaced. Mudslides are covering some roadways. And even major highways are crumbling from the excessive rainfall.

“The right southbound lane of Highway 49 is going to take some extensive repairs,” Willingham said. “Along Highway 16, different portions of the highway were also repaired but have since reopened.”

After a slide developed on Highway 49, near the Yazoo County High School, the Mississippi Department of Transportation maintenance crews were immediately on the scene digging trenches to relieve water from the roadway. The soil began pulling away from the road causing part of the outside, southbound lane of Highway 49 to slide out, forcing the closure of the outside lane.

Traffic is currently passing in the inside lane of Highway 49 while crews monitor the condition of the saturated roadway. Should more sliding occur, both lanes of Highway 49 southbound will close and crews will reroute traffic. MDOT will issue an immediate update should this occur.

Willingham said a few dams and levees are also being monitored.