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|Levee boards, Corps monitoring rising rivers|
The Fifth District Levee Board, the Tensas Basin Levee Board and the Corps of Engineers are keeping a close watch on levees as the rivers continue to rise with a predicted crest of 53.5 feet on the Mississippi at Vidalia on Monday, May 25.
Fifth District Levee Board President Reynold Minsky said the levees are being monitored daily and he doesn't expect any problems but noted, "With the river rising you never know what's going to happen."
Minsky said "we've got some sand boils on our levees already. All that we're seeing are at the same places as last year. We're not worried about them right now and just hope no more pop up."
Tom Matthews of the Corps of Engineers' Vidalia office said the Mississippi River mainline levee is being patroled eight hours a day.
"Right now things are not too bad," said Matthews. "If the rivers continues to rise we may see more sand boils and there will be more seepage."
Minsky said the river will crest at Vicksburg on Friday, May 23, at 47 feet.
"It's expected to stay flat there for a week to 10 days," said Minsky. "Of course, that depends on what happens with that low in the Gulf and what comes down from the Ohio Valley."
Meanwhile, Tensas Basin Levee District Executive Director John Stringer said it's amazing what a difference two weeks can make.
"Two weeks ago the Ouachita River was at 27 feet at Monroe and falling," said Stringer. "Now it's at 41.3 this morning (Tuesday) and rising."
Flood stage on the Ouachita at Monroe is 40 feet. He said a crest of 44 feet is expected Saturday, May 23.
"There's a lot of water coming down the Ouachita," said Stringer. "They have had a tremendous amount of rain in south Arkansas."
The Ouachita flows into the Black River at Jonesville, which flows southward to the Red where the water eventually empties into the Mississippi.
Stringer said, "We don't anticipate any major problems for the Ouachita-Black system. A number of the flood gates are closed, which is normal, and we're just watching things."
Records show, said Stringer, that in 1958 the Ouachita crested at Monroe on May 23 at 50.45 feet.
"I've seen high water into early June," said Stringer.
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