Officials calm as Mississippi River rises
by Rory Doyle
Apr 25, 2013 | 2500 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bolivar County officials are not expecting the Mississippi River to flood as it did in 2011 when this photograph was taken.
Bolivar County officials are not expecting the Mississippi River to flood as it did in 2011 when this photograph was taken.
The Mississippi Delta is expected to feel a slight impact as water from rain-swollen rivers across the Midwest continues to make its way south down the Mississippi River.

The National Weather Service predicts many of these waterways will remain high into next month, straining levees during the river's expected slow descent.

Floodwaters have risen to record levels recently 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.

While northern locations have faced major issues, Peter Nimrod, chief engineer of the Mississippi Levee Board, said Bolivar Countians should rest easy knowing no major flooding is expected.

"At the moment we're okay," said Nimrod. "Readings are still below flood stage and the forecast calls for them to stay right around this level."

Flood stage is marked at 37 feet at Arkansas City, Rosedale's nearest river stage reading.

A Wednesday afternoon reading out of Arkansas City measured at 33.9 feet.

Nimrod said there might be some minor flooding on access roads and agriculture land, but nothing overly significant.

Unless drastic weather increases the flow of the Ohio River, which empties into the Mississippi, the Delta is likely to avoid larger problems.

However, Bolivar County Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Quinton urged residents along the river to keep a watchful eye on levels over the next couple weeks.

"It's expected to peak near flood stage in our area around May 5," said Quinton. "As long as we don't get too much rain, I'm not worried about heavy flooding like we've had in the past."

Quinton added that snowmelt up north could also produce a slight rise.

"Right now, it doesn't look like we're going to experience catastrophic flooding," Quinton said.

Robert Maxwell, director of the Port of Rosedale, said he was not terribly alarmed about the forecasted rise, and that even at flood stage business at the port would not be greatly impacted.

"The reports I've gotten expect a crest around flood stage but that's not going to effect us too much," Maxwell said. "Unless it gets considerably higher than that there's nothing to worry about.

"Obviously we're hoping it doesn't get anywhere near as high as it did a couple years ago," said Maxwell, in reference to the Mississippi River flooding of 2011.

Nimrod confirmed that reconstruction projects from the 2011 floods are finally nearing completion.

A location in Francis, just south of the Coahoma County Line, was repaired with 16 new relief wells, which are now fully in place. Nimrod said only final touches remain.