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Mississippi River Residents Prepare For the Worst Flood in 70 Years

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 28 Apr 2011 04:32pm | comments
Mayor Winfield stands in front of a levee that marks the flood levels.

Families in low lying areas along the Mississippi River are getting ready for what is expected to be the worst flood in nearly 70 years. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that some families preparing to leave have spent generations living by the River in Vicksburg.

A large truck lowers a heavy steel beam into place in Vicksburg as crews install the flood gates, designed to protect the city from what is expected to be an historic flood.

Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield says the flood will to come faster and rise higher than the most recent flood in 2008.

"We expect the flood levels of 53 and a half feet, as based upon the National Weather Service, to affect us in the north portion of the county, and the City of Vicksburg, and down in the southern region of our community," Winfield said.

Some of those homes are decades old and sit just feet from the river and are not protected by any levees.

Teams of police and young Americorp workers are going door to door in an area of off-kilter shotgun homes...some on stilts and some sitting on the ground...but all of them right at river level.

59-year old Mary Blue's home has survived two other floods and she knows what to do to prepare this year.

"I am moving out. I am moving stuff. I am going to move some on Saturday when I am off work. I am going to get stuff and move it out of my house. (reporter: What about housing? Where are you going to go?) I don't know every house I find, they don't want us to rent them, they want us to buy them," Blue said.

56-year old Robert Jordan grew up in this neighborhood and most of his family, including his brother, sister, and uncle still live in the area...Jordan says generations of his family have survived flood after flood and are preparing to weather another..

"My parents lived here since 1936 over here. My mom came here when she was 11-years old. And that's all we known. Like I said, this is home. We don't know what we can do," Jordan said.

Jordan says his family will move in with relatives living on higher ground...but they will come back when the waters recede.

This flood is expected to equal or pass the flood that happened in 1937, if it does, it would be the second worst flood on record for the area.

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Mayor Winfield stands in front of a levee that marks the flood levels.


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