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Greenville Braces for Cresting Mississippi River

By Sandra Knispel | Published 12 May 2011 10:23am | comments
The Lighthouse Point Casino in Greenville is flooded as the water level rises to a new record high.

So far, most of Greenville is safe from flooding with the access roads to the levees sandbagged. But, as MPB’s Sandra Knispel reports, the Mississippi is still four days away from cresting in that area.

“Greenville is going to be just fine. We don’t expect any problems with our main line levee. The Corps of Engineers and the Levee Board – they have an excellent year-round maintenance of the levees," said Larry Miller, the emergency management deputy director for Washington County.

“The levees are designed to hold 75 feet. We’re going to crest at 65, that’s the expected forecast on the 16th. Greenville is going to be ok."

Bad luck, however, for the Greenville casinos and the yacht club outside the levee. The yacht club’s roof is already engulfed by water, which is lapping at the casino entrances. Still, walking through neighborhoods right behind the large earth dam that separates Lake Ferguson, a tributary of the mighty Mississippi from the city of Greenville, most residents appear surprisingly calm, among them JoAnn Brooks:

“Because I have faith in God and I believe that if it rises up that high they say the siren will go off and they give us the warning to leave, we just leave," Brooks said.

But if a large part of the populace is relying on God to keep them safe, the wildlife isn’t. Hordes of deer, snakes, wild boar and apparently even the occasional alligator are invading civilization, searching in vain for a Noah to rescue them from the water that has been filling up their woods on the outer side of the levee. They’re running past Doris Petty’s house, just 30 yards behind the levee.

“The deers [sic] and the wild hogs is [sic] running around in the area, right in the city of Greenville," Petty said. "I saw a wild hog early this morning.”

In north Greenwood, with sewage wafting through the air, Rosella January is sitting in front of her small home. Here, the levee is a few hundred yards away but the flood is inching closer surreptitiously, seeping slowly from the creeks and spilling out of runoffs. Already, her front yard is soggy, riddled with growing puddles.

“The water is seeping up under the ground and it’s getting really bad. I might end up leaving here. I don’t know. I’m just praying and hope everything is gonna be ok," January said. "Thank God it ain’t in my house yet.”

As if on cue, just a few minutes later, close to a hundred deer cross over the levee and disappear into the woods not far from her house. Clearly, the wild life here is not waiting for evacuation orders.

Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Greenville.

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The Lighthouse Point Casino in Greenville is flooded as the water level rises to a new record high.


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