Eyes still watching MS River
by Rory Doyle
May 16, 2013 | 2311 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bolivar Countians along the swollen Mississippi River have yet to experience any major flooding.

However, most of the Delta remains alert as water from rain-swollen rivers across the Midwest continues to make its way south down the mighty Mississippi.

Minor flooding of farmland and access roads has been reported in some areas, but Kavanaugh Breazeale, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi Valley Division, said current conditions are not abnormal for this time of year.

"Right now, we are not terribly alarmed," said Breazeale. "We don't foresee it getting any higher — but we are not predictors. We get our information from the National Weather Service."

As the river lingers around flood stage from Memphis down to Vicksburg, Breazeale said the Corps is ready should conditions worsen.

"The Corps of Engineers stands ready to assist in any way humanly possible," he said. "We are vigilantly watching river levels, but we're not expecting any major flooding.

"At the end of May, we might be singing a different tune. Basically, we are at the mercy of what's happening in the Ohio Valley."

Floodwaters rose to record levels late April along the Illinois River in central Illinois, while in Missouri, six small levees north of St. Louis were overtopped by the surging Mississippi River, flooding mainly farmland.

A report from Arkansas Matters on Thursday indicated flooding farmland has also been an issue in the Helena area, with local agents estimating the river to be a mile wide.

A flood warning was issued for the river at Memphis, where it's expected to rise to well above the 41-foot flood stage. Roads to industries inside the levee south of West Memphis are flooding.

Peter Nimrod, chief engineer of the Mississippi Levee Board, said Bolivar Countians should rest easy knowing no major flooding is expected.

"Right now the Arkansas City reading is at 36.3 feet and it supposed to go up .2 to 36.5 in a couple days," said Nimrod. "We expect it to hold up at that level for a few days.

"Based on forecasts, we're not anticipating anything more than some minor flooding on access roads."

The extreme highs and lows of the river continue to keep locals on their toes.

In 2012, the river dropped due to drought conditions across much of the nation and dry weather locally. Levels dipped to -1.1 feet Aug. 29.

The river's 57.1-foot crest in Vicksburg in 2011 was 14.1 feet above flood stage and nearly a foot above levels in the Great Flood of 1927.