Northern MS Deluged with Days of Heavy Rainfall

Members of the Tupelo Fire Department assist during flooding
Members of the Tupelo Fire Department assist the Saltillo Police Department, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, as they go house to house with an inflatable boat to rescue homeowners who found trapped inside their homes due to flash flooding in the Willow Creek subdivision in Saltillo, Miss. (Thomas Wells/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP)

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Heavy rainfall this week has flooded homes, businesses and farmland in north Mississippi, washing out some roads and making travel dangerous.

The National Weather Service said more than 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain fell in Tallahatchie County from Tuesday to Thursday. It also said Thursday that 7.8 inches (19.8 centimeters) of rain had fallen within 24 hours at Greenwood-Leflore County Airport, and 3.9 inches (9.9 centimeters) of rain fell Wednesday in Tupelo.

The weather service also warned Thursday about the “high probability” that a dam in rural Carroll County could fail.

Bolivar County Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Lamb told the Clarion Ledger that water went into 150 to 200 homes.

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“We’ve had to use boats to rescue people and get them to safe ground,” Lamb said. “All the roads are under water, so we’ll have to wait until the water goes down before we can see if we have some infrastructure damage.”

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency released video of farmland that flooded in Tallahatchie County. Delta Council, which represents agriculture interests, said farmers were losing thousands of dollars worth of crops and chemicals because of flooding in soybean and rice fields.

Rising waters forced evacuations Wednesday in the Willow Creek subdivision in Saltillo, near Tupelo.

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In Yalobusha County, rain swept away a section of a road east of Water Valley. A truck crashed into the hole and crews rescued the occupant, WTVA-TV reported. Lee County officials Wednesday closed a section of road after the underside swept away but the road surface remained intact.

Oxford resident Jamie Mardis told WMC-TV that he received a text message Wednesday from the nurse who does in-home care for his 4-year-old son. Rain had fallen throughout the previous night.

“She said, ‘You might want to go close the garage door because it’s coming down pretty good,” Mardis said.

Within the hour, rain flooded Mardis’ yard and water moved into the garage.

“The water was all the way up to the bottom of the door seal,” he said, pointing at the duct tape barrier he had created. “So we started making steps to try and get the furniture up inside and get prepared for the floodwaters inside the house.”

Mardis said the water kept rising rapidly.

“I was scared. I was afraid I might lose everything I got,” he said “You know, this is what I’ve been working for the last 10 years, all piled up in this house.”

Mardis’ son, Liam, has a medical condition that requires around-the-clock care and expensive medical equipment in the home. Liam had been taken Tuesday night to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and water never reached the inside of the house.

Flooding happened throughout Oxford and Lafayette County.

“It blew out some roads, blew out some culverts,” said Joe Bynum, the county roads manager.

Emergency officials in Lafayette County told residents to evacuate several homes Wednesday after heavy rain created concern about a dam on a small lake. Crews from the county fire department pumped water out of Tara Lake to relieve pressure on a levee near the Tara Estates and Gum Tree subdivisions outside Oxford. A sinkhole was forming on the levee by the lake, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. The fire department said late Wednesday that people were allowed to return to their homes.

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