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Mississippi mayor urges Jackson residents to ‘get out now’ as river flooding expected from heavy rains

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The mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, advised residents to leave the capital city over the weekend ahead of potential flooding as the Pearl River crests after heavy rainfall last week.

Officials said about 100 to 150 homes in the Jackson area could be impacted by Monday night as the river continues to swell.

“If you are capable of getting out now, get out now,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said in a news conference Saturday morning.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said Monday on Twitter that the river was predicted to crest at 35.5 feet, just below the major flood stage level of 36 feet.

SEVERE WEATHER EXPECTED FROM MIDWEST DOWN INTO TEXAS

Officials on Monday said that roads around Jackson were still flooded and urged residents not to return home until local officials say it is safe to do so.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

“Roads are still flooded. We ask that you don’t return home until your local officials say it’s safe to do so,” the agency said.

Trees were partly submerged, and power lines shook in the strong current Monday. Soccer fields in northeast Jackson were covered with several inches of water, where geese floated. 

The river was expected to remain steady at 35.37 feet and begin to slowly fall beginning Monday night, the National Weather Service in Jackson said early Monday.

Reservoir police observe the water release from the Ross Barnett Reservoir Spillway onto the Pearl River, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, in Rankin County, Miss.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis))

Even with the more positive forecast, officials and residents have prepared for flooding early, remembering the torrential downpours that caused the Pearl River to reach 36.7 feet two years ago. The flooding then inundated homes in the hardest-hit neighborhoods with dirty, snake-infested floodwaters.

Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency on Saturday ahead of the expected flooding.

A sedan rests in floodwaters in this northeast Jackson, Miss., neighborhood, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022.

A sedan rests in floodwaters in this northeast Jackson, Miss., neighborhood, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

“This will be a long-term flooding situation,” he said. “You can expect high water in the city for at least five to seven days before significant reduction occurs.”

Some Jackson residents already moved furniture and appliances out of their homes late last week. Others were stocking up on sandbags. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency had deployed 126,000 sandbags to act as water barriers in preparation for flooding.

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The Red Cross opened a temporary shelter at the Jackson Police Department Training Academy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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