"This flood is an entirely different animal"

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

As Jimmy Hudson prepares for the encroaching waters upon his Holly Bluff home, he takes a moment to look down at a slab of concrete near the family’s basketball goal.

Emotions begin to surface as he notices the names and handprints of his now-grown children etched in the concrete. An upward glance reminds him of the flood waters that are threatening his family home.

“This is home,” Hudson said. “This home is exactly what I wanted when we built it 36 years ago. It is the only place I have lived my whole life. And now I feel so small and overwhelmed when I see the waters coming, and I can’t stop it.”

Hudson is one of many families and property owners who are dealing with the major flooding occurring in parts of Yazoo County. With the Mississippi River backing up into the Yazoo River, the surrounding tributaries are thrusting the waters into rural communities.

“It’s overwhelming,” Hudson said. “It’s just depressing as hell. I don’t know what other way to put it.”

Jack Willingham, emergency management director, said that although it appears the water has crested, relief is not anticipated just yet.

“The crest has happened, and the water will begin to drop a foot or two,” Willingham said. “But the water will go right back up before the month is out because of all the additional rainfall.”

As of press time, Willingham said there are about 40 families displaced or affected by the flooding.

“We are dealing with a different kind of animal with this flood,” Willingham said. “The backwater side is higher than it was in 1973.”

Hudson is among the residents in Holly Bluff who are racing to save their homes and property in an area called “a bowl of water” by many emergency personnel. Along with his home, he is trying to save his dog kennel operation on his property.

“You begin to feel so insignificant in what you are trying to do versus what God is doing with the river,” he said. “We have formulated a plan, built a levee the same height as the road. My house is at a decent elevation, but it still feels out of your control.”

Hudson also has family members who are farmers in the Holly Bluff area. Normally, this time of year is consumed with planting corn and preparing for other crops. That is not the case today.

“My family has 4,000 acres of land underwater now,” Hudson said. “It is normally a wonderful time of the year in the Delta right now because corn is being planted. All that is gone now. Corn will not be planted now at all, period.”

Even outside his home, Hudson said a recent storm system brought waves up to his knees.

“It weighs on you that are you are so small and surrounded,” he said.

Terry Gann, chief investigator with the Yazoo County Sheriff’s Department, said first responders are keeping an eye on the area for safety measures and to protect the property of those who have relocated.

As of press time, no reports of looting or thefts have been reported.

“We are having a problem with sightseers,” Gann said. “People are going around the barricades, which is a ticketable offense. The roads are washed out under the water, and it is a hidden hazard.”

Gann said there have also been some incidents of people shooting wild hogs as they attempt to escape the waters. The department is patrolling at night to curtail hunters from shooting from the roads, which is illegal.

“It is legal to shoot a hog if you are the property owner or have permission from the property owner,” he said. “But it is not legal to shoot from the road or to trespass on property to shoot a hog.”

Regular meetings are being held to assist the communities affected, and sand bags are also being distributed where needed. Willingham added that shelters on are standby as well.

Road closures, as of Tuesday morning include Hwy 149 From Erickson Road to West Levee; River Road (Gravel end); Satartia Holly Bluff Road; Calihan Road; Clear Lake Road; Campbellville Road (gravel end); Boat Club Road; Boat Club; Steed Lane (wash out in road); Lake George Road; Townsand Road; Delhi Road; 12 Mile Bayou Road; 15 Mile Bayou Road; Whites Lane Road; Oak Valley Road; Canal Road; Potato  Bayou  Road; Ashwood Road; Stewarts Ridge Road; Erickson Road and Berrville Road between Fugates and Scotland (bridge out).