Gov. Tate Reeves declares state of emergency due to Pearl River flooding

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Gov. Tate Reeves has declared a state of emergency due to the flooding caused by the Pearl River.

MEMA Director Greg Michel and Governor Tate Reeves held a press briefing Saturday morning providing updates on the ongoing flooding in Jackson.

The Pearl River is expected to reach a crest of 38 feet at 6:00 p.m. Sunday evening.

If we reach flood levels of 38 feet, this will be the third worst flooding of the Pearl River in history.

The governor and all state agency partners are ready to extend any resources necessary throughout this flooding event.

The City of Jackson has an emergency evacuation notice for those living in low-lying areas of Northeast Jackson.

The National Weather Service has an interactive map that shows which areas will be inundated with water when the river reaches 38 feet.

There’s also a comparison to 1979, when the river reached 43.28 feet.

Barnett Reservoir officials are continuing to work with local and national partners to limit flooding down stream of the 33,000-acre lake.

After nearly seven inches of rain fell into the Pearl River basin this week, the reservoir has used storage space to slow the flood’s approach of the city but it is now almost full.

During Saturday morning’s press conference, officials reported that many sites in the Pearl River basin north of the lake had crested and inflows into the lake were expected to peak at about 83,000 feet per second Saturday night.

Reservoir officials are trying to hold the water as long as possible.

“We committed to allow time for the people downstream to evacuate and prepare, and we will hold to that promise as long as we can,” said John Sigman, General Manager of Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, the state agency that oversees operation of the lake. “Our plan is to hold discharge through the dam at the current level through today at 6 p.m., and then we will slowly start increasing the flow. We will reach capacity and have no option but to release the water.”

Sigman said the plan was to slowly take the release up to match the inflow, which should create a flow of 80,000 cubic feet per second through the dam.

The reservoir was at 297.8 feet above sea level and on a fast rise.

The week began with a level of 295.1 feet.

Pearl River Valley Water Supply District and the Rankin County Board of Supervisors are providing sandbags to residents affected by the flooding.

They can be picked up at Lakeshore Park off Northshore Parkway at Barnett Reservoir. Volunteers are welcome to assist at Lakeshore Park.