USA – Officials Warn of Dam Failure After Record Rainfall in Mississippi

The Oktibbeha County Lake Dam in eastern Mississippi is ‘imminent danger’ of failing, officials said on 14 January, 2020.

Recent heavy rainfall and flooding has compromised the dam’s structure. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said that “Oktibbeha County is encouraging residents who live near the Oktibbeha County Lake Dam to evacuate. After inspection, the County Engineer believes failure of the dam is imminent.”

According to local media, if the dam were to break it will flood 17,400 acres of nearby land and about 250 people would have to evacuate at least 112 households.

Elsewhere in the state, heavy rain has caused flash flooding in Warren County, where the county Fire Service and Sheriff’s Department rescued a driver trapped in flood water.

Flooding was also reported in Jackson Metro Area. National Weather Service (NWS) Jackson said late on 14 January: “A Flash Flood Emergency has been issued for the Jackson Metro Area. Local officials have reported multiple swift water rescues ongoing or needed in the Downtown Jackson area. More rain is expected! This is a dangerous situation!”

NWS Jackson reported several daily rainfall records were broken on 14 January, with as much as 5.76 inches of rain in Jackson Hawkins Field, 4.51 inches in Jackson Evers, 2.06 inches in Meridian and 3.50 inches in Tallulah-Vicksburg.

The swollen Pearl River is also causing concern. As of 14 January, the river reached 32 feet, 2 inches, well above flood stage of 28 feet.

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