With the Mississippi River cresting today and the gates at Steele Bayou closed, the South Delta is already seeing substantial flooding this year.
Approximately 337,000 acres are underwater due to drenching rains in the past few months. The water is constrained by the Steele Bayou gates, which are designed to stop the Mississippi and Yazoo river waters from inundating the South Delta.
But if rainfall is also high, the backwater floods anyway, as it did last year with devastating effects. At the peak of the 2019 flooding, more than 550,000 acres were underwater for several months, destroying homes and preventing farmers from bringing in a crop.
Could this year be setting up for a repeat?
The Yazoo pumps, which could drain floodwaters from the South Delta regardless of the rivers’ heights, are still not installed; however, the “perfect storm” of conditions that contributed to the 2019 floods hasn’t occurred this year.
The Mississippi is expected to crest Friday at 45.5 feet at Vicksburg and begin to slowly fall for the next week or so. The backwater is at 92.24 feet, and Eagle Lake is 78.22 feet.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to reopen the Steele Bayou gates in early February.
Rain is in the forecast again starting Saturday night and into Sunday.See a typo? Report it here.