Mississippi mayor urges Jackson residents to ‘get out now’ as river flooding expected due to heavy rain
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The mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, has advised residents to leave the capital this weekend ahead of possible flooding as the Pearl River crests after heavy rains last week.
Officials said about 100 to 150 homes in the Jackson area could be affected by Monday evening as the river continues to swell.
« If you are able to get out now, get out now, » Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told a press conference on Saturday morning.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said on Twitter Monday that the river is expected to peak at 35.5 feet, just below the major flood stage of 36 feet.
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« The roads are still flooded. We ask that you do not return home until your local authorities say it is safe to do so, » the agency said.
Trees were partly submerged and power lines shook in the strong current on Monday. Football fields in northeast Jackson were covered in several inches of water, with geese floating in it.
The river was expected to hold steady at 35.37 feet and begin to slowly decline beginning Monday evening, the National Weather Service in Jackson said Monday.
Even with the most positive forecast, authorities and residents prepared early for flooding, remembering the torrential downpours that caused the Pearl River to rise to 36.7ft two years ago. The floods then inundated homes in the hardest-hit neighborhoods with filthy, snake-infested floodwaters.
Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency on Saturday ahead of the expected flooding.
“It will be a long-term flooding situation,” he said. « You can expect flooding in the city for at least five to seven days before a significant reduction occurs. »
Some Jackson residents already moved furniture and appliances out of their homes late last week. Others were filling up with sandbags. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency had deployed 126,000 sandbags to act as water barriers in anticipation of flooding.
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The Red Cross has opened a temporary shelter at the Jackson Police Department Training Academy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.