As rainfall burst the banks of rivers across the two states, officials in Mississippi and Tennessee warned residents they are still in the path of more flooding as rain continues to hammer the soaked American South.
“We have rain coming in between Sunday and Wednesday,” said Rankin County, Mississippi emergency management director Mike Word. “The water is coming. It’s just slower than they said. We don’t want the general public to lower their concern because this thing isn’t over yet.”
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency due to the flooding on Saturday.
Jackson, just to the west of Rankin County, has been hit hard by flooding from the Pearl River, which reached its third-highest mark in recorded history Sunday morning.
Mississippi ordered evacuations after heavy rains caused some of the highest river levels in 30+ years, flooding local dams. Officials say rain is “400%” normal levels.
Further north, in Tennessee’s Hardin County, floodwaters spilled over roadways and houses were swept away by swollen rivers.
NEW: Drone footage released by firefighters in Hardin County, Tennessee, shows homes under water as parts of the South suffer through the worst flooding in decades, with a State of Emergency declared in Mississippi and residents bracing for more rain. https://t.co/XzKSSEXSia pic.twitter.com/9KPk6RLxEY
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) February 17, 2020
“Spring flooding is already underway in the South,” said climate journalist Eric Holthaus. “It’s February.”
“We are in a climate emergency,” he added.
There are 10 million people in the South under flood warnings, according to NBC News.
“It’s going to be a long spring across the country,” tweeted meteorologist Dr. Samantha Montano.
Though the flood waters are expected to recede quickly after the current storm system clears out, those waters will present their own dangers.
Mississippi governor declared a state of emergency amid what he called “a historic, unprecedented flood” brought by heavy rains.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 17, 2020
The damage from the flooding could be catastrophic, Jackson resident Nate Green told MSN.
“One of the reasons people come and live down here is because they want to be close to the woods, close to the river, so they can ride four wheelers, hike, do that kind of stuff and this is part of what you pay,” said Green. “It’s going to be financially crushing to a lot of people.”