Flooding threatens again in the capital of Mississippi | national news

By MICHAEL GOLDBERG – Associated Press/Report for America

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The predicted flooding in Mississippi couldn’t have come at a worse time for Veronique Daniels, who became homeless three months ago and was sleeping on her mother’s back porch in Jackson when she got wind of impending doom.

The Red Cross has opened a temporary shelter at the Jackson Police Department Training Academy. Sunday afternoon, Daniels was the first person to arrive. She discovered the shelter on Facebook and asked her mother to drop her off on Sunday morning.

Daniels’ mother lives in Canton Club Circle, the same subdivision of Jackson as flooded two years ago. Residents were taking precautions on Sunday as previous flooding loomed large in their memories.

In 2020, days of torrential downpours caused the Pearl River to rise 11.2 meters (36.7 feet) and Jackson homes in the hardest-hit neighborhoods were completed with filthy, snake-infested floodwaters.

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Now experts predict the river will peak at 35.5 feet (10.8 meters) on Monday. The city estimates that 100 to 150 homes could be impacted by Monday evening.

“If you are able to get out now, get out now. Get out as soon as possible,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said at a press conference on Saturday, the same day the Mississippi governor declared a state of emergency.

Linda Gagliardi, a Red Cross volunteer deployed from Huntsville, Alabama, said she expects an influx of residents Sunday night.

“Our advice is to have a plan and be ready to go at all times,” Gagliardi said. “And I think that’s what people are waiting for, that moment.”

As Red Cross volunteers helped Daniels finish a load of laundry, she waited for her 18-year-old daughter and 11-month-old grandson to arrive. They had stayed with friends the previous night, but the family’s long-term plans are on hold.

Some Jackson residents were moving their belongings out of their homes. Others were filling up with sandbags. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency had deployed 126,000 sandbags to act as water barriers in anticipation of flooding.

Oscar Day, an inventory control officer at a sandbag distribution site, said Jackson residents began preparing their homes for potential flood damage earlier than 2020.

“A lot of people took the heat the last time,” Day told The Associated Press on Sunday, referring to residents who opted out of taking precautions two years ago.

Mississippi floodwaters come in the wake of the destruction and death inflicted on Kentucky residents last month. These floods killed at least 39 people and deprived thousands of families of all their belongings. Nearly a month later, residents are struggle with the question of whether to rebuild where they live or start again elsewhere.

In Jackson, authorities did not implement a mandatory evacuation order, but said residents risked fending for themselves if they chose to stay at home.

A Ridgeland police officer patrolling the grounds of the Harbor Pines mobile home community on Sunday estimated that about 20% of residents had yet to evacuate as of Sunday afternoon.

He warned: “If you stay here and get stranded, we may or may not come to rescue you. »

Michael Goldberg is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mikergoldberg.

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