Levee updates from the Southeast Arkansas Levee District, Chicot County Judge Mack Ball, National Weather Service, and the Mississippi River Levee Board.

January 20 – As you know, the river crested as expected approximately one week ago. The river stage this morning at Greenville gauge is expected to be just over 54′. The river should continue its fall and hopefully it will be below official flood stage by next week some time.

Today will be the final day for the Corps of Engineers to be monitoring the levee system as part of their emergency operations. They should be wrapping up operations this morning and making their way back home. “Thank You” to the Greenwood Area Office and all of their crew from both Greenwood and Vicksburg! We appreciate all you do to assist us, not only during high water situations, but also in more normal times.

During this time of high water the Corps of Engineers has gathered information about our levee system, especially with regards to the upgrades that have been completed since 2011. It seems that the upgrades (relief wells, additional berms, etc) performed as expected and seemed to have mitigated many of the problems that we saw in previous floods. That being said, each flood event is unique unto itself and we must always be prepared to react to the situation that arises. Corps engineers will now take the information that they have gathered and make further recommendations to refine the system to provide continued protection during future high water events.

A big “Thank You” also goes out to all those groups and individuals that assisted us in our operations during the flood. Your presence and willingness to do what was needed is appreciated! We know that many of you worked long hours and at less than convenient times. Thank You.

As the water recedes, we will be getting back to normal operations. As part of the return to normal, the levee system will open to public travel on Monday, January 25. Please be mindful that even though the waters are receding, wildlife will still be displaced and that can be a hazard to both them and you.

The Southeast Arkansas Levee District

January 14 – The levee is NOT open for travel. It is closed until the levee board decides to open it. STILL CLOSED. A crest does not open it.

Chicot County Judge Mack Ball

January 10 – Corp of Engineers has reported an updated crest at Greenville. It is to crest at 56.2′ on Wednesday. This is good news. Here are the updated forecasts. A few changes were made along the rivers to lower crests.

Mississippi River:
Greenville crest was lowered to only stay in moderate flood stage and not reach major flood stage.
Arkansas City, Vicksburg and Natchez will still reach major flood stage.
Crests were lowered as follows:
Arkansas City: -0.8 feet
Greenville: -1.3 feet
Vicksburg: -1.5 feet
Natchez: -1.0 feet
Dates of all the crests along the Mississippi River remain unchanged.

Crests were also lowered along the Black River/Boeuf Rivers in Northeast Louisiana. Acme and Jonesville Lock and Dam will remain only in action stage and not reach flood stage.

David Cox, Meteorologist, National Weather Service-Jackson, MS

January 5
– Southeast Arkansas Levee Board Update: The US Army Corps of Engineers has people on the ground that are assisting in inspecting the levee as the river continues to rise. They have inspected and are continuing to inspect the slides that have occurred before the river began to rise. According to the USACE, the cause of the slides does not have its origins in the rising river. Rather, the slides have been caused over time as the soil has expanded and shrunk in relation to the weather. As you know, this summer was very dry and since the drought broke, the rain has been nearly constant. As the soil loaded up with water weight, the ground shifted at natural shrinkage lines and the slide was created. The slides are a normal occurrence on the levee and each one is evaluated to ensure the the integrity of the levee is not compromised. As of today, no slide that has been identified has compromised the integrity of the levee system. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed if anything significantly changes.

As the river continues to approach its crest, we will be increasing our levee patrols and will begin 24 hour monitoring. We have added additional personnel as needed to assist in the efforts. The Forestry commission and the AGFC are also assisting us. The levee system remains closed to non-essential traffic and will likely remain closed until further notice.

These has been no change to the forecast river crests as of this morning. The forecast can be found at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lmrfc/…

We appreciate your patience and cooperation in this situation. — Southeast Arkansas Leavee Board

January 4 – Round-the-clock levee patrol begins. The Arkansas Game & Fish, Arkansas Forestry Law Enforcement, Chicot County Sheriff’s office as well as other agencies are enforcing a mandatory ban on levee traffic.

Only citizens who require the levee to access their permanent residence will be allowed to access. All other vehicles will be stopped and issued citations. Please continue to monitor the river stages and we will continue to provide you with updated information as it becomes available. Thank you all for your cooperation.– Chicot County Judge Mack Ball

January 1 – Mississippi River update from Peter Nimrod: The NWS has again lowered the river forecast crest at Greenville & Arkansas City by 0.5’ They have also moved the crest up 1 day at each location. Over the past 2 days the NWS has lowered the forecast at Cairo from a 59’ crest to now 56.5’.

Current MS River Gage Readings:
Arkansas City 36.4’
Greenville 47.9’
Vicksburg 41.1’

The National Weather Service (NWS) has revised the Mississippi River forecast:
Arkansas City 47.0’ on January 12th
Greenville 59.0’ on January 13th
Vicksburg 54.0’ on January 15th
Yazoo Backwater Area:

The Steele Bayou Structure is closed. The current landside gage reading is 87.1’. The landside will get to 90.0’ with the current water on the ground. With normal rainfall the Yazoo Backwater will get up to 94’.
Big Sunflower River @ Sunflower: falling at 22.2’.
Big Sunflower River @ Anguilla: falling at 40.3’.
Big Sunflower River @ Holly Bluff: currently at 88.8’.
Carter Area/Wolf Lake Area:
With the predicted 54’ crest at Vicksburg, the Carter Area/Wolf Lake Area is predicted to reach ~103’.

Peter Nimrod, Chief Engineer, Mississippi River Levee Board

December 30 – Mississippi River Update from Chicot County Judge Mack Ball: The levee is closed to all traffic in anticipation of high water on the Mississippi River relief valves have been added since 2011 High water by the Corp of Engineers in those problem areas in 2011. The corp is monitoring the slides in Arkansas and Louisiana. They are classified by the COE. I have declared a disaster only in order at this time to prepare for a flood event should it become necessary. The county, cities, Southeast Arkansas Levee Board, Corp of Engineers and Office of Emergency Services are meeting and preparing for the high water event. The Corp is monitoring the slides on the levee and will start monitoring levee on Monday. The crest at Greenville is forecast at 60 feet on January 14, 2016. Flood stage at Greenville is 48 feet.-

Chicot County Judge Mack Ball