Monday, October 23, 2017

Mayor George Flaggs began the meeting by commending the team and volunteers who have, thus far, made a tremendous contribution to educating the public and protecting the safety of lives and property in the flood prone areas. He was particularly impressed with the number of volunteers and City employees and the speed in which they worked to complete the sandbagging of the Depot.

Before giving the floor to team members for reports, with relief apparent in his voice, he announced that the predicted river crest at Vicksburg has dropped another 6 inches to 52 ft. The river is still expected to crest on Friday, January 15.

 

John Elfer, Warren County Emergency Management Agency: 65 homes and 46 people have, so far, been affected by the flood waters.
Sandbagging at the depot is complete. 10,000 sandbags were used in the endeavor. Several thousand are in reserve for later use.

Ben Washington, Vicksburg Housing Authority: The Agency currently has 10 units available for temporary housing. Individuals needing information on this matter are asked to call Debra Goodman in the Mayor’s Office at 601-801-3566.

Walter Armstrong, VPD: Stated that the State of Mississippi provided 10 inmates to help fill sandbags at the Depot. Great appreciation was given to the State and the inmates for their timely, efficient work.

While the Depot is closed and Levee Street remains blocked/partially blocked security will be increased in the area.

He is guardedly optimistic that, so far, there have been no injuries or water rescues. However, Chief Armstrong is quick to point out that the water is rising and with it comes increasing danger. In the Kings Community Eva St., Pittman Rd, Ford Rd, and Scenic Drive are closed. High water is threatening to close Hutson Street. Public caution is highly stressed.

Six officers are manning the road closures to help ensure public safety. No one is allowed to enter closed areas until the area has been reopened.

No one will be allowed to enter the water on a “closed” road for safety concerns.

Charles Atkins, VFD: Showed gratitude to John Elfer and the Emergency Management Agency, Chief Armstrong and the VPD, Garnet Van Norman and the Public Works Department, and Sheriff Martin Pace and the Warren County Sheriff’s Department for their diligent work in keeping the public safe.

He reiterated that the Vicksburg Fire Department is ready and available when needed.

Victor Gray-Lewis, Community Development: In contrast to what is happening in the northern sector of town, he states that, right now, the Cedars area, south of town, is in good shape. Vigilant monitoring is ongoing in case of change.

Jeff Richardson, Landscaping/Traffic Departments: Reports that all is in place and continuing smoothly for both Public Works and the Animal Shelter.
Alderman Mayfield used this opportunity to remind the public not to leave pets behind if they are evacuating. It is a very unfair and cruel action to not include the pets in the evacuation process.

Bill Seratt, VCVB: Thanked everyone for their efforts in placing the sandbag wall around the Depot. The VCVB is located in the historic building and they are hoping for minimum to no damage from the encroaching flood water.As Media Representative for the group, he stated that the media interest his slowed down for the time being, but he expects it to pick up as the water continues to rise.

Chad Bounds, Corps of Engineers: Team members from the Corps of Engineers are continuing their patrols. They are tremendously grateful for the fast and efficient response on sandbagging the Depot.
He guardedly stated that the flood water may not hit the Depot directly, but would probably seep into the basement from over saturated ground water.

When the river rises to 49 feet the Corps of Engineers will go into “Phase II” operation. They will patrol 24 hours a day in order to immediately respond to flood related issues.

Although the predicted crest of the river has fallen from 54 feet to 52 feet, he warns that this is still a major event and cautions the public to not relax their guard and continue to be vigilant around the flood prone areas.

Jerry Wilson, Entergy: Electricity disconnects have been minimal so far. He states that Williams Rd, Ford Rd, and Eva St. are without power. Most of the affected homes and businesses are in the Kings Community. However, Mr. Wilson states that

Anderson Tully may lose power later this afternoon.

If a down power line is seen or if a problem with a power line is even remotely suspected, the public is asked to call Entergy immediately. It will be treated as a priority and they will respond quickly. Do not go near the troubled line.

Entergy technicians are conducting daily patrols checking for rising water and possible electrical problems. They are keeping a keen eye on North Washington Street.

Sheila McKinnis, Entergy: Recommended to residents who may be evacuating to call Entergy prior to moving out for disconnect service. This will prevent possible electrical problems from occurring if water reaches the dwelling.

Martin Pace, Warren County Sheriff: Stated that his department has made its last “land” pass in the Ford Subdivision. From now on access will be made by boat.
His department continues to be poised and ready as need arises.

Vicksburg/Warren School District: The school district is appreciative of the help it has received regarding the rerouting of buses in the flood prone areas. The coordination and cooperation of all involved parties has helped make the transition a smooth one.


Mayor Flaggs reminded team members to keep up with employee hours during the extent of the flood emergency.

He is interested in developing a City of Vicksburg Flood Procedural Manual in the near future.

Alderman Thompson thanked everyone for the great effort and feels good about what is being done in regard to public and property safety.

The High Water Response Team will meet next week on Monday, January 11, Wednesday, January 13, and Friday, January 15 at 2 p.m. This is a change from the original schedule of daily meetings during the week .