RELIEF, that's how Warren County officials are feelings since the Mississippi River crested last Friday, at about 50.2 feet. The National Weather Service originally predicted 54 feet, but lowered it.
"We didn't want to see 54. We certainly didn't want to see 57. Fifty-two is bad enough," said Elfer.
That's Warren County Emergency Management Director, John Elfer. Fifty-seven feet is how high the river crested in 2011. Elfer says they learned from that experience. This time they evacuated more than 100 homes ahead of the flood. They also relocated 10 families into temporary housing. Elfer explains it'll be several weeks or longer before residents can return home. He's warning them about what to expect.
"Be aware that animals may have relocated into their home or around their property. Floating gas tanks, floating butane tanks, any number of hazards, said Elfer.
"We have just launched on Pittman Road," said Pace.
Sheriff Pace and his staff are patrolling flooded areas by boat. We're turning onto Williams Street, in the Ford Sub-Division. The road is six feet beneath us. There's debris floating on the murky water. We see the tops of street signs and the roof of a home submerged. Some houses on stilts didn't take on water.
"There's deer," said Frazier. "That's one of the unfortunate victims of these river floods. They're very close to the bank now to be able to get out," said Pace.
They keep an eye out for poachers. Pace says they've rescued dogs and pet rabbits. He says the water is contaminated with chemicals and raw sewage.
"It's just a mess and the clean-up process of a river flood is actually the worst part," said Pace.
Sheriff Martin Pace says roads have to be cleaned and inspected, which could take a month or longer before they reopen. He's urging people to stay away from flooded areas.
Evacuated residents can obtain a check list to assist with returning to their homes at the Warren County Emergency Management Office at 1009 Cherry Street, Vicksburg, or the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency's website: http://www.msema.org/