Just before 2:00 p.m. on Saturday the parking lot of Pemberton Plaza flooded.
“It’s flooded before, but never like this.”
A significant amount of rain fell in the area for about 30 minutes. It caused flooding in the parking lot of Pemberton Plaza on the corner by Plaza Hair Care. Plaza Hair Care is closed on the weekends but owner Lee Abraham was at the location to check on the situation. “It’s flooded before, but never like this.” Abraham went on to say that water was inside the business but it was too early to assess any damages.
His was one of several businesses in that corner of the lot that had water inside the building. Employees of the Japanese Express could be seen attempting to stop water from coming inside the building. Some vehicles were driving through the flooded areas causing waves to splash against the storefronts, creating a dangerous situation. The waves could cause the glass to shatter, creating even more woes for the shopkeepers.
The big picture was being addressed
Flooding on Pemberton Boulevard has been an issue for decades. The drains are not large enough to clear the water during heavy rains creating a dangerous driving situation. The city recently awarded a contract to Central Asphalt to install a larger drain to address the problem and correct the flooding. Crews have been working for several weeks and the work had progressed across the area behind the new Merit Health facility being built on Pemberton, across from Goldies Express. The drain had been built under the access road behind Goldies. It is near the final drain that empties the water into the ravine just east of Newk’s.
Central Asphalt had crews working at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning to complete as much as they could before the rains hit. The drain was in a vulnerable condition because the final connection had not been made. The crews also installed several pumps in case the rains were significant enough to overwhelm the old, collapsing drain they were working to replace. The unexpectedly heavy rain hit just after 1 p.m. and by 2:00. p.m. the rain was waning but the storm drains, not yet complete, were unable to remove the water.
A frustrating day for Central Asphalt
The water backed up and flooded the parking lot and the road. A large sinkhole opened up near the area of the current construction work as rainwater drained down the new storm drains into the area of the collapsed drain that crews were hired to replace.
Central Asphalt crews worked through the downpour and late into the afternoon to minimize the damage. “The City of Vicksburg is sending units and equipment to assist,” said Mayor George Flaggs in a phone call to the Vicksburg Daily News. Dane Lovell and his crew showed up with a large pump that sped up the process of removing the water from the drain area. Within 15 minutes of being hooked up, it was shut down again because the old drain collapsed further causing the new drain to shift. The new drain was sitting against an exposed gas line and was in danger of shifting even more so crews backed up and let the water, which was flowing freely, drain all the way out.
About 45 minutes after the city crew showed up with their large water pump, Pemberton was clear and the water had drained from the parking lot.
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