Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Easter Flood

It's been 33 years since the "Easter Flood".  The Pearl River overflowed it's banks and caused widespread flooding in central Mississippi - 17,000 people were forced from their homes and damage estimates ran as high as $500 million.

The heavy rains began on April 11, 1979 and continued for the next 36 hours, some areas received 20 inches of rain.  On April 17th the Pearl River crested at a record 43.28 feet.   

Time for a look back with a few words, photos and a great video.

Video provided by WLBT




The following account of the flood was written by a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson.

On Wednesday afternoon, April 11, heavy thunderstorms moved into the western part of the state. During the next 36 hours, thunderstorms repeatedly developed over much of central Mississippi from Jackson to Columbus.

When it was all over Friday morning, April 13, rain accumulations had totaled 8 inches over the upper Pearl Basin, with amounts between 15 and 20 inches over most of Choctaw, Winston, and Oktibbeha counties in the east central part of the state. These rains caused record flood levels on the Noxubee River (which flows into the Tombigbee River), the Big Black River, and the Pearl River. This report will concern only the Pearl River flooding.  Read full report here.

A National Weather Service page provides a chronology of events for the 1979 flood.   It can be seen here


A few photos:
click a photo to enlarge

Fairgrounds

Harbor Pines Mobile Home Park at The Rez

Inflow at Spillway

Discharge at Spillway

Gallery of photos from the Clarion Ledger here.

The Rez News
Barnett Reservoir

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As always, great work. I spent many hours volunteering pulling cars out, loading trucks and boats with furniture and also cleaning up and ripping carpet and sheetrock from houses. Two things that stick out in my mind about the flood:(1)they said it would never happen again but it did happen again in 1983-not as bad as '79 but still a bad flood about 4 ft lower crest.(2)The Corp of Engineers, who had some oversight on the management of the floodgates along with PRV were seriously considering blowing the emergency spillway(across from the old Rapids)due to concern over the pressure on the gates and spillway road levee. It was reported that of if the water had gotten several inches higher, it would have happened. Today that area (Old Fannin Road)is covered with houses and the water would have more than likely covered a good bit of the shopping area on Lakeland Drive.