UPDATE: As of 10:00 a.m., May 11, the National Weather Service has RE-ISSUED the flash flood watch.
UPDATE: As of 9:30 a.m. May 11, the flood watch has been CANCELLED, according to the National Weather Service. It is canceled for a portion of North Mississippi, including the following counties: Coahoma, DeSoto, Panola, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Tate and Tunica.
Flooding is no longer expected to pose a threat. Please continue to heed the remaining road closures.
On Wednesday, the agency extended that watch for a month, effective until June 10.
The National Weather Service says dam failure may result in flash flooding in low-lying areas below the dam.
Areas under the watch in north Mississippi include Coahoma, DeSoto, Panola, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Tunica counties. Portions of east Arkansas were initially part of the watch but have since been removed.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the dam is not in imminent risk of failure, but the watch was in effect as a precaution while repairs are being made.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District’s Emergency Operations Center was activated after identifying potential breach conditions.
They said the district will lower the pool to an elevation of at least 210 feet to reduce the potential of a breach and begin safe emergency repairs. Personnel will also continue to monitor dam conditions.
“So they are working on the repairs, it’s not like in imminent failure right now. They are just doing this as a precaution while they’re repairing the damage that they found this morning,” said Katie Dedeaux, Hydrologist with National Weather Service.
Recreation areas and road access immediately downstream will close until further notice, including:
- Old Pratt Road
- Highway 301 along the base of Arkabutla Dam
- South Outlet Channel Campground and Day Use Area, including Swinging Bridge Nature Trail and Boat Ramp
- North Outlet Day Use Area, including playgrounds, pavilions, the fishing pier, and Coldwater River Nature Trail
- Basketball court
Lifetime resident Emily Sosebee said she’s seen repairs done to the dam in the past but nothing like this.
“It’s pretty concerning. There’s a lot of people that live north of the dam,” she said.
Visit the National Weather Service website for flood safety tips and resources.