Escatawpa residents brace for even more flooding
ESCATAWPA -- Calvin and Dorothey Parker had sandbagged the doors, packed their belongings and moved things off the floor in their home on William Baxter Road by Thursday morning.
Dorothey stood in her flooded carport. Calvin had waded to the street to talk with neighbors. They have lived on the corner since 2007 and never seen water get this high from the rising Pascagoula River. The circle they live on containing a dozen homes is on a bayou off the Pascagoula at the end of Roberts Road. Water had surrounded four of the homes Thursday.
"Another foot and we'll have water all through the house," Dorothey called from the carport.
"We'll get it first," before the others on the block, she said.
The urgent issue now in this neighborhood and others along the east side of the Pascagoula north of Interstate 10 is the tide, said Terry Jackson with the Jackson County Emergency Management office.
He said a high tide, predicted for later Thursday, would keep water in the river from draining, holding it in the neighborhoods and not allowing it to drain into the Mississippi Sound.
"It's hard to judge where we're at," Jackson said. "We're in a wait-and-see mode."
He did say officials look for what they call minor flooding in a few homes along the east side of the river before the river crests Friday or Saturday.
"Of course, it's never minor if it's your home," he said. He said if water does get into homes, predictions are for no more than 1 or 2 inches.
"It's going to be close," he said.
Water was closing the west end of streets and threatening homes on Roberts and Prescott roads that run west of Mississippi 613, and Hardwicke, which is about three blocks west of the highway.
Jackson said people in one neighborhood had boated in to get their things and their dogs. He said the rise of the Pascagoula seems to have slowed.
"I wouldn't want to see anybody go through anything like this," said Dorothey Parker, calling from her carport, with her pants legs pulled up. "I say prayers are welcome at my house."
Emergency management officials said the flooding is on the Pasacgoula River but not the Escatawpa. The Pascagoula gauges at Merrill in George County and Graham's Ferry on Wade-Vancleave Road are likely to log river stages the area hasn't seen in 10 years.
Four historic communities along the Pascagoula River are being threatened by the high water, George county spokesman Ken Flanagan said.
The river at Merrill Creek crested at 28 feet Wednesday, and is expected to crest about a foot lower near the Plum Bluff community and Tom Hempstead Road.
Flanagan said about two dozen homes have water at or over their floorboards.
He said because the floodwaters have been rising since Sunday, the only way into the area is by boat. Residents have been able to keep the water at bay, for the most part, but sightseers' boat wakes are pushing water into homes.
"Please keep sightseeing to a minimum," Flanagan said, "and be very aware of your wakes. The water will recede slowly."
Flanagan also cautioned residents to be aware the current in the Pascagoula is very strong. He said the current has overturned several small boats, kayaks and canoes.
Mike Smith, CEO of Singing River Electric, told George County supervisors Thursday morning about a dozen homes have been disconnected from electricity for safety. He said either water had gone up to the power meters or power lines were too low and an energized line could electrocute someone.
The Pearl River was at 17.9 feet as of 8 a.m. Thursday, almost 4 feet above flood stage. The Pearl was expected to fall to 17 feet by Saturday evening.
Gum Bayou is expected to flood parts of River Gardens subdivision and Magnolia Forest also will be threatened by high water. Honey Island Swamp remains inundated and about 20 homes are threatened by the floodwaters.
Kate Magandy, Sun Herald online editor, contributed to this report.