Area remains under flood warning

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Heavy rains flooded some roads in the area Tuesday night. Lincoln County recorded as much as 5 inches of rainfall.

Heavy rains flooded some roads in the area Tuesday night. Lincoln County recorded as much as 5 inches of rainfall.

As much as 5 inches of rain fell over the area Tuesday and early today, according to the National Weather Service in Jackson.

In Brookhaven, the Wastewater Treatment Facility recorded 3.35 inches of rain for Tuesday.

Lincoln, Copiah, northwestern Lawrence and Franklin counties remained under a flood warning until 11:15 a.m. today. There were reports of water covering some roads in the area. In Lincoln County, a culvert at Bethel Road washed out and water covered a roadway near the Fair River.

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A flood warning was issued for the Pearl River near Monticello. At 6:15 a.m. today, the stage was at 20.7 feet. Flood stage is at 22 feet.

The weather service expected the river to rise above flood stage by late this morning and will continue to rise to near 26.5 feet by Friday evening.

At 26.5 feet, flooding occurs near the Hwy. 84 bridge at the Atwood Water Park. At 26 feet, water covers Old Hwy. 27 about seven miles north of Monticello near Saint James Missionary Baptist Church. At 25 feet, water begins to flood lower portions of Cooper’s Ferry Park in Monticello. At 24 feet, water appears in low areas in the extreme eastern portion of the city of Monticello, according to the NWS.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office alerted drivers Tuesday night that several roads were unsafe to travel. Ras Case Road, Ethel Johnson Road,  Roy Schmidt Road, Yates Road, Duckworth Road and Ruby Lee Road were listed as unsafe because of flood waters. Some roads in Copiah County were also closed due to flooding.

Tuesday’s severe weather prompted several schools to reschedule basketball games. Lawrence County schools also dismissed at 1 p.m. Tuesday because of weather concerns. Buses were also delayed this morning.

Statewide, a tornado damaged homes and at least one church, and strong winds damaged student housing at a community college Tuesday in eastern Mississippi. Authorities said no injuries were immediately reported.

The tornado appeared to be on the ground for about five miles in and near the small town of Collinsville, northwest of Meridian, said Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie.

Student housing was damaged at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, which is northeast of Meridian in Kemper County. Scooba is near the Alabama state line.

“Everyone is accounted for and safe, but student housing was damaged and EMCC is working to provide alternatives,” college spokeswoman Suzanne Monk said in a statement.

She said it was unclear whether the damage on campus was caused by the tornado or straight-line winds.

Greg Flynn, spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said a confirmed tornado was reported just before 3:30 p.m. in Newton and Lauderdale counties.

A dispatcher at the Newton County Sheriff’s Department said there was very little structural damage in that county.

The area hit in Lauderdale County is mostly rural but also has a large subdivision, Sollie said. Most people were at work when the storm struck. The sheriff said though there were no immediate reports of injuries, ambulances were on standby.

First Baptist Church of Collinsville had “a good bit of structural damage,” Sollie said. He also said many trees were toppled, and power was knocked out.

Five counties in south and central Mississippi opened community safe rooms for people to take shelter, if needed, because of severe weather as a strong cold front moved through the state. The shelters were in Adams, Copiah, Forrest, Jones and Rankin counties.