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May 18, 2010 9:40 AM by Sharlee Jacobs

River Half Foot Below Flood Stage

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi River is crest at a half
foot below flood stage at Vicksburg when it tops out on Thursday.
The river was running at 41.8 feet at Vicksburg on Monday. The
revised forecast from the Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center
in Slidell, La., has the river topping out at 42.5 foot on
Thursday.
"We saw more flow out of the Arkansas River over the weekend
than we had anticipated, which forced us to raise the crest at
Arkansas City and pretty much all the cities south of there,"
LMRFC Senior Hydrologist Kai Roth told the Vicksburg Post.
The rising river forced the closure of the Kings Point Ferry on
Sunday evening, said Warren County Road Manager Richard Winans.
The ferry normally would be shuttling a handful of private-land
owners across the Yazoo Diversion Canal each day this time of year,
he said. Nearby gravel roads also have begun taking on water and
are closed in areas.
The gates of Steel Bayou, meanwhile - closed since May 6 - were
holding 5.7 feet of river water out of the Yazoo Backwater Area as
of Monday.
Inside the backwater area, the water stage measured 83.7 feet
Monday. On the riverside of Steel Bayou, the water stage measured
89.4 feet.
Located off Mississippi Highway 465, Steel Bayou is the lone
drainage point for 4,093-square-miles of levee-locked forest and
cropland. Its gates will remain closed until the river recedes
below the water stage inside the backwater area.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which controls the structure,
anticipates the gates being forced closed until the end of the
month or the first week in July - at which point the water stage
inside the backwater is expected to be around 88 feet. Low-lying
crops in the backwater area begin to go underwater at 86 feet.
"There's also some secondary water from the Ohio (River) coming
out at Cairo (Ill.) - which is going to peak in about two days -
and that will take several days to reach Vicksburg," said Roth.
"So, it's going to stay up for a while, and have a pretty slow
fall."

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