Officials still dealing with flooding problems

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 16, 2004

MONTICELLO — Lawrence County District Two Supervisor Billy JoeBoutwell is disappointed in the amount of state and federal helpthe county is receiving while trying to recover from recentflooding.

The area received about 10 inches of rain Feb. 5, which wasfollowed by more than a week of continuing rainfall in far lesseramounts. The amount of rainfall caused flooding in low-lying areasof the county and a sharp rise in the Pearl River.

Most of the county seems to have weathered the storm well,Boutwell said, and most of the flooding was in the northwest cornerof the district near the Lincoln County line.

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A house owned by Ann Brown on Sylvester May Lane and a houseowned by Jeffrey Jackson on Highway 27 were flooded, he said.

“The last flood we got was about knee-deep in (Brown’s) houseand she got no help,” he said. “She got flooded again this time andwe still can’t seem to get much help.”

Michael Carr of the Natural Resources Conservation Service hasdeclared the county a disaster area, which provides one avenue offederal assistance to county supervisors, Mayor David Nichols said.However, funds through that agency are limited.

Each government agency involved in disaster relief has differentpossible sources of funding relief, but the county must be declareda disaster area by those agencies before the funds are available,according to Nichols. No other agency has declared a disaster inthe county, he said.

Boutwell said he believed the flooding of Jackson’s house onHighway 27 could be prevented with some highway work by theMississippi Department of Transportation.

The state agency installed a small culvert near the residence afew years ago, the supervisor said, but it hasn’t been sufficientto channel the water away from the house.

“It will take more than that,” he said. “It’s going to take somedrainage.”

Roads in that area of the county also experienced some damage,Boutwell said, but none were serious enough to warrant closing theroad. He estimated eight-10 roads needed repairs after therains.

“I didn’t have to close any roads, but I had a good number tofix,” he said. “We fix them so they can cross them immediately. Westay prepared here at the shop with the materials to fix themquickly.”

One road repaired after the rains has been affected by thecontinuous rainfall. Boutwell said he was informed Monday morningthat Tom Evans Road needed to be repaired again, but had not beento the site to inspect it early this morning.

Other roads, he believed, also needed minor repairs.

“All this rain is causing a lot of potholes, I know that,” hesaid.

In Monticello, Nichols said officials are keeping a wary eye onthe Pearl River, but he was confident they would be able withstandthe rains without further flooding.

“We’ve had it in people’s yards, but we don’t know of any homesit’s got into,” he said. “We’ve also had several culverts washedout. They’re still in place, but eroded. Unless we get anotherdeluge, I think we’ll be OK.”

Atwood Water Park was under water last week and much of thisweekend, but waters are beginning to recede.

Bank sloughing is always a concern for the town located in abend of the river.

“I feel like we’re going to lose some river bank when the waterrecedes,” he said. “I’m not an engineer, but I’ve seen it happentoo many times.”