While Mississippi communities that line their namesake river were waiting for floodwaters to recede on Saturday, Louisiana residents in the path of diverted waters were enduring an agonizing wait.
In St. Martin’s Parish, Louisiana, a mandatory evacuation was ordered to take effect on Saturday, only to be pushed back at least two days after officials said the river would crest May 27 at a lower level than previously thought. Meanwhile, communities along the Mississippi River in Mississippi wait for floodwaters to recede.
The delayed evacuation in St. Martin’s Parish is likely to be a source of both optimism and further frustration for residents who have heard the same grim forecast for days on end. Once the water comes, residents may not be able to return for weeks. They’ll have to wait until Monday for officials to decide whether to reinstate the evacuation order.
Farther up the Atchafalaya River, St. Landry Parish imposed a mandatory evacuation last Sunday for several areas outside the ring levees protecting Krotz Springs and Melville. Hundreds of homes in all the evacuated areas are believed to be at risk of flooding.
It was a different story in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where residents wanted to know on Saturday when the water would finally recede.
Even though the Mississippi River is slowly falling, it is still so high that water is backing up into its tributaries, especially the Yazoo River.
Marty Pope, a senior service hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said Saturday that the Yazoo River is not expected to crest until Monday at Yazoo City and two days later at Belzoni.
Pope said that means floodwaters will recede in some areas but continue to rise in others.
“I’ll be glad to see that water start surging the other way,” Pope said.
The Weather Service predicted Saturday that an inch (2.25 centimetres) or more of rain would fall in Louisiana in the coming days while up to 6 inches (15 centimetres) of rain was expected upriver in Illinois and Indiana. As that water flows down the Mississippi, it could also slow the receding of floodwaters in Southern states.