Thursday, August 18, 2022

Gov. Phil Bryant: FEMA Called to Assess Damage in Mississippi, River Stages Rising

Mississippi Gov., Phil Bryant, at the MEMA headquarters this morning.
Mississippi Gov., Phil Bryant, at the MEMA headquarters this morning.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant held a press conference this morning at the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) headquarters in Pearl, Mississippi, to address the public about storm and tornado damage from the past five days.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will arrive in Mississippi today to assess the damage that was done around Mississippi.

“Immediately after the storm, a search and rescue began. It lasted until December 26, when the last two victims were found,” Gov. Bryant said.

The governor said that over 50 Mississippians were injured and 10 lives were lost after a string of violent storms and tornadoes ripped through North, Central and parts of South Mississippi over the Christmas holidays. So far, a count of 463 homes were damaged due to the storm system.

According to Gov. Bryant, if the need of assistance bypasses MEMA’s funds, he will ask the President of the United States to declare a national emergency to receive further assistance from the Federal government.

“If it reaches the thresh hold of individual assistance, which we believe it will, then I will be urging the President of the United States to declare a national emergency,” Gov. Bryant said.

FEMA’s debris removal and demolition is reserved for “the clearance, removal and/or disposal of items such as trees, sand, gravel, building components, wreckage, vehicles and personal property.”

The Gov. said he will know more after FEMA starts accessing the damage today. He will be in the effected areas tomorrow with FEMA.

Mississippi River Flood Concerns

Among weather and damage concerns, the storm system, which traveled through multiple states, leaves river crests high and likely to flood beginning in January.

“For future flooding, we are looking at the cresting of river stages at Greenville, Vicksburg and Natchez to crest on January 16,” Gov. Bryant said.

The current stage is at 25.53 feet in Memphis. The flood stage is 34 feet. Photo: Map from the National Weather Service
The current stage is at 25.53 feet in Memphis. The flood stage is 34 feet. Photo: Map from the National Weather Service

According to a river stage advisor, Mississippians should expect moderate to major flooding. The crest from Memphis to the mouth of the Arkansas River are expected to be higher than the April flood of 2008, which was 37.75 feet in Memphis. In 2011, the crest was at 48.03 feet in Memphis.

It is important to note that the flood stage is 34 feet in Memphis, and the current stage is at 25.53 feet. According to the map, from the National Weather Service, it is forecast to rise to 34.3 feet by January 1, in Memphis.

“Casinos will be affected, those living inside the levee systems, unprotected areas in the Vicksburg area, areas North of Yazoo River and problems just North and South of Natchez,” a flood advisor said at the press conference. “Most of the flooding in our lower areas will be from Jan. ninth to the eighteenth.”

Depending on other storm systems, the crest forecast could change. The governor urges Mississippians that might be affected by flooding to take proper precautions. Whether it is your home, hunting camps or other equipment inside the levee or flood areas, it is important to prepare to self-evacuation now.

“If they (homes and areas) flooded in 2008 and 2011, more than likely, they’ll flood again,” Gov. Bryant said.

Gov. Bryant also thanks the volunteers that are helping with the storm damage cleanup. He request that no one “self-deploy” to help in effected areas, but to volunteer through MSDisasterResponse.org.


Emily Newton is a staff writer for hottytoddy.com and the editor of Experience Oxford magazine. She can be reached at emily.newton@hottytoddy.com.

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