January 6, 2016 - The Flood of 2016 City of Vicksburg High Water Response Team held a public meeting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, January 6 to discuss preparations for the encroaching flood of the Mississippi River at Vicksburg.

Members of the team gave brief reports to City Officials, local media, and members of the community. The following information was discussed and shared with those present.

Chief Walter Armstrong, VPD: Levee Street, near the Depot is closed to traffic. Customers needing or wanting to patronize Levee Street Market will be allowed access. It is, however, predicted that the area will be blocked off completely by this weekend between January 8th-10th as flood water will be creeping its way over the road.

The VPD is asking trucks not to travel past the intersection of North Washington St. and Haining Road due to flooding. These vehicles are being rerouted on Highway 61 Bypass.

Water is beginning to enter the low lying Kings Community. Residents are evacuating.

Police Officers will pull 12 hour shifts providing security for the Kings Community to the north and Cedars community to the south of town. The Railroad Bed will also be monitored for security and safety reasons.

Chief Charles Atkins, VFD: Safety is the utmost priority for all concerned. He stresses for residents who evacuate to please take all important personal belongings and medications with them. Residents who plan to evacuate their dwellings are asked to contact the Vicksburg Police Department to share their plans and contact information. This is for personal and property security.
Please adhere to and respect all information and requests from authorities. If emergencies occur in flooded areas it will be more difficult for emergency personnel to respond in a timely manner.
Any water emergencies and issues that occur will be handled by the VFD Rescue Boat team, Warren County Sheriff Department Boat Patrol and water patrol from Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

Martin Pace, Warren Co. Sheriff’s Department: Sheriff’s Department is ready to assist where needed. His department will use the Boat Patrol for the duration of the flood. They will provide help wherever they can be of service.
He asks for all residents, sightseers, and visitors to please stay out of any flood water. It is dangerous. Flood water covers everything in its path and whatever is underneath the surface of the water can and will come in contact with whatever enters the water.

John Elfer, Warren County Emergency Management Agency: Pumps will be delivered to Green Meadow area this morning.
Sandbagging is in progress at the Depot

Garnet Van Norman, Public Works Department: Closure of gates on the north end of the water front should be completed this morning.
He echoed John Elfer’s comment that sandbagging of the Depot began this morning and is ongoing.

Jeff Richardson, Landscaping/Traffic Department: The Vicksburg Animal Shelter is working with Paws Rescue to move animals from the shelter to higher ground. 10 animals a day, on average, are being moved from their current location which is prone to flooding during high water into foster homes. Authorities are hoping, and expecting, to have all sheltered animals placed in homes by Saturday, January 9th. A temporary shelter will be opened for any animals rescued during the flood period.

Entergy: Daily patrols are being made by Entergy technicians for possible disconnect purposes. If the water gets too high, running electricity can be dangerous and deadly. Power disconnect is a dire necessity. In most cases a 24 hour notice will be given to those who will be without power.

Evelyn Bumpers, Enroute: Transportation will be available to those who need help evacuating. She and her staff are currently coordinating, planning, and working out the details.

Captain Srikant Bhatnagar, The Salvation Army: His staff and volunteers are prepared to assist and provide services when and where needed.

Tish Green, Wal-Mart, Vicksburg: Wal-Mart offers to provide needed supplies and goods to the city and work crews for the duration of the flood.

Sylvia Gurtowski, City of Vicksburg American Red Cross POC: The American Red Cross is ready and on standby to provide assistance as needed to those affected by the flood. Information on assistance is available to affected residents.

Volunteers from the Red Cross will be on sight today providing food and refreshments to the crews and volunteers assisting with placing the sandbags at the Depot.

Mayor George Flaggs commended the team and adjourned the meeting. The group will report again on Friday, January 8 at 9 a.m.