The Pearl River, which runs just east of downtown Jackson, reached the third highest level ever recorded on Sunday morning at 36.38 feet. The river has risen slower than expected, but has reached its greatest flood stage and could collapse to 38 feet by Monday – the highest point in recent decades – the Mississippi government, Tate Reeves told reporters.
Several neighborhoods in the northeast and central Jackson were evacuated in anticipation of the flood. After the governor declared a state of emergency on Saturday, law enforcement officers went door to door urging at least 510 people to leave their homes, Reeves said.
“We don’t want to lose anyone as we respond to what the historical flood levels should be,” said the governor.
Authorities expect an “unprecedented historical flood” that the city hasn’t seen in more than 30 years, Reeves says.
The highest recorded river level is 43.3 feet, established in April 1979. The next highest was 39.6 feet, set in May 1983.
The water shouldn’t retreat for days
If the river hits 38 feet, a large number of houses will be flooded with 6 feet of water, the streets will become impassable and residents will not be able to return home for days, emergency management officials said.
“We don’t expect the situation to end soon. It will take days before we get out of the woods and the water will start to recede,” said Reeves.
The water was almost covering hydrants and mailboxes in parts of Jackson as some residents tried to evacuate. Scott Johnson, the owner of a trailer company, brought one of his trucks into a neighborhood to help residents.
The city urged residents to collect sandbags for use as water barriers in their homes on Saturday. More than 96,000 sandbags have been delivered to Hinds County, the governor said.
Parts of Jackson are already flooded
Much of Arsheka Davis-Jackson’s courtyard was filled with water.
“I’m terrified,” she told WAPT. “I have a business that I run inside my house. I work from my house. So this will ruin a lot of things.”