Emergency officials said the water level on the river side is beginning to lower, but the backwater flooding continues to rise with no relief predicted for almost half a month.
“On the Wolf Lake side, the water is starting to fall,” said Jack Willingham, emergency management director. “But the backwater is continuing to rise. I don’t see any relief from the backwater for at least 17 days when we will be able to open the Steele Bayou gates.”
Willingham told the Yazoo County Board of Supervisors Monday morning that 26 county roads are underwater, and 41 residents are directly affected by the flood.
“They have either lost accessibility to their house, or they are not in it at all,” he said. “Two residents actually have water in their homes. We have one resident that had a tree fall through their house with the storms and saturation of all the water.”
Willingham said no one has requested shelter, and his team and volunteers continue to dispense sand and bags to those who need it.
“We are using the high-water truck to get in and out of the areas that people cannot get into,” Willingham said. “We are getting out and checking on folks.”
Weekly meetings are being held in Holly Bluff, and drone footage is being collected daily. Willingham is also flying with local pilot Jody Carson for documentation.
“We are trying to document this for historical purposes,” he added.
Willingham said the backwater flooding continues to raise concern. When the Steele Bayou gates are able to be opened, he said he has been told they could possibly remain open for at least ten days
“Hopefully when they do open it, they said they might can keep it open for ten-day period,” Willingham said. “That would give us some relief. We are just praying that we don’t get any rain. I don’t see any in the next few days. I hope the ice melt holds off too, but it is going to get to us eventually.”
Supervisor Cobie Collins said he mailed letters Thursday to Congressman Bennie Thompson and Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde Smith for their support in constructing pumps in the area.
“There is also a petition circulating, and the governor and MEMA are trying to help,” Willingham said. “I can count 50 to 51 farm entities affected. When you are talking about these farmers being affected, you start talking about chemical companies, people who work for them, ag pilots, stores, entire communities. You’ve got commercial fishermen, people who live off the land who can’t do what they need to do. It is going to affect us all.”