Jackson, Mississippi: The water system is failing and can’t produce enough water to fight fires or flush toilets, Mississippi governor says

Due to the inability to produce running water, the state will help distribute safe and unsafe water to up to 180,000 people as crews work to get the plant back into service. water treatment, the governor said.

Until the system is fixed, there will be no reliable, large-scale running water, Reeves said.

The governor said he was told on Friday that it was ‘almost certain that Jackson would be unable to produce running water for the next few weeks or months’ if improvements were not made to the system , and officials began to develop water distribution plans.

“It was all with the prayer that we would have more time before their system went down,” Reeves said. “Unfortunately, this failure seems to have started today.”

The governor added that he will sign an emergency declaration for the city and create an incident command center to distribute water.

Jackson’s mayor also declared a water system emergency on Monday, saying “the Pearl River flood … has created water treatment issues at the OB Curtis water plant. , causing a temporary decrease in water production throughout the city of Jackson.”

As a result, officials announced that all public schools in Jackson will transition to virtual learning on Tuesday.

The water crisis comes after record rains washed down the Pearl River crest and flooded the streets. Earlier Monday, city officials said they were ‘cautiously optimistic’ as the Pearl River appeared to crest without water pouring into residents’ homes, according to a spokesperson for the mayor. .
The city – still grappling with the toll of historic flooding in 2020 – was bracing for damage and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told residents on Saturday to “get out now”.

But despite the flooding, there were “no reports of water in homes” on Monday, Melissa Payne, the mayor’s spokeswoman, told CNN. “The shelter remains open for those concerned about the water…but we expect to see some water drop over the next two days,” Payne said.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the river is expected to peak Monday morning at 35.5 feet – just before major flood stage, which is 36 feet at this point along the river. But by late Monday morning, the river had been sitting at around 35.35 feet for several hours.

Some roads around schools and neighborhoods on the northeast side of Jackson were impassable Monday morning, according to a CNN crew on site. But the water was receding in the area, according to Hinds County assistant director of emergency operations Tracy Funches.

The communities most at risk were the same ones hit by the February 2020 flood – hence the dire warnings from authorities – when the Pearl River reached its third highest crest on record at 36.7ft , flooding several northeast and downtown Jackson neighborhoods. , damaging some homes beyond repair and leaving large amounts of debris.

Jackson resident Shawn Miller’s home suffered $60,000 in damage during the 2020 flood, he told CNN, and it cost thousands more to move his family during five for six months at his expense.

Miller thought his family had taken the right precautions to keep the water out, he said, but it wasn’t enough.

“You can’t control it. I had 50 sandbags, and it didn’t do anything,” Miller said, adding that he “came back and still had about a foot in the water damage there.” ‘interior of the house’.

Water was again in the street outside his home on Sunday, and he was suspicious.

A flooded street is seen in Jackson, Mississippi.

A more prepared city this time

Governor Reeves declared a state of emergency on Saturday due to rising river waters and urged residents to remain calm. The state began assessing water levels along the river using drones and deployed more than 100,000 sandbags, the statement said.

“Mississippi State is as prepared as it can be for this flood,” Reeves said.

Authorities prepared for possible search and rescue operations, clearing areas of debris, distributing sandbags to residents and providing public transportation to help with evacuations, according to Lumumba.

The mayor said officials were better equipped this time around and able to better explain to residents how to prepare for flooding by taking pictures of their property and locating their critical documents.

Mississippi governor declares state of emergency amid massive flooding

“Whether or not we have the same number of households affected this time around, for those households that are affected, that’s a handful too many that can be affected,” the mayor previously said. “So we want to make sure that we have the post-recovery mitigation, that it doesn’t have to be commonplace in the city of Jackson anymore.”

Miller agreed that government officials had done a better job of informing residents of the threat of flooding than in 2020, when he was surprised to return home to find water pouring down the street and that his neighbor was packing his bags.

People look over the safety barrier Sunday on the lane leading into flooded Madison County, Mississippi, on the side of the boat ramp at the Ross Barnett Reservoir Spillway Recreation Area.

More rain is becoming ‘common’ and it’s taking its toll, says mayor

Residents of Jackson and other parts of Mississippi experienced heavy rain for several days last week as a slow-moving weather system caused flooding that forced evacuations, washed out roads, derailed a train, flooded houses and caused numerous rescues.

“Our residents have been inundated with persistent rains for the past few days, so we have already faced flash floods, and so this is a heavy toll for our residents,” Lumumba said.

Flood warnings remain in effect until further notice along the Pearl River, including in Jackson, Mississippi, according to the National Weather Service office in Jackson.

A train is derailed and roads are washed out by torrential rains in parts of Mississippi
River levels were at 35.28 feet Sunday evening and were on track to peak at 35.5 feet Monday morning. At that height, water would flood some northeast Jackson streets near the river as well as dozens of downtown Jackson streets and approach homes in the Hightower area, according to NWS.

“Quite honestly, it has become commonplace. We are experiencing more rain in our rainy season, hotter summers and colder winters, and it has hurt our infrastructure,” Lumumba said.

CNN’s Nadia Romero, Melissa Alonso, Michelle Watson and Hannah Sarisohn contributed to this report.

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