- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Latest on severe weather and flooding in Mississippi (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

Officials say as many as 1,000 residents could see their homes flooded by the rapidly rising Leaf River in Hattiesburg, Petal and surrounding areas.

Forrest County Emergency Management Director Glen Moore said Friday he’s urging people to evacuate and take precautions in advance of the river’s predicted Sunday morning crest.

National Weather Service measurements show the river has already jumped 20 feet following 8 inches of rain dumped on the Hattiesburg area since Thursday. It’s expected to reach a crest of 29 feet by 9 a.m. Sunday.

The flood would be one of the worst in the area since a 1974 inundation that led to the evacuation of 6,000 people and produced waters 15 feet deep.

Moore says Forrest County is offering sandbags to residents and is opening a shelter.


5:15 p.m.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation says state or federal highways are fully or partially closed in 14 of Mississippi’s 82 counties because of flooding or flood damage.

U.S. 61 is closed in DeSoto County near Walls and in Claiborne County south of Port Gibson. U.S. 51 is closed in Tate County near the Coldwater River.

The report doesn’t count scores of county and local roads that are closed. For example, Panola County Emergency Management Director Daniel Cole said nine county roads remain impassable there, including two that he knows have suffered serious damage.

Transportation officials are advising drivers to call 511 or check mdottraffic.com for updated conditions.


3:27 p.m.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Lee Smithson says more than 300 homes statewide have been flooded since Wednesday because of heavy rains.

The worst damage is concentrated in Coahoma, Washington and Panola counties, MEMA reports, although some counties have yet to report damages.

Smithson warns that the danger isn’t over yet, especially in areas south of Jackson. The Coldwater, Sunflower and Yazoo rivers are flooding in the Delta. Smithson says flooding along the Leaf River in Hattiesburg and Escatawpa River in Moss Point is likely to spark evacuations.

Smithson says no one has been killed, but two fishermen remain missing on the Mississippi River in Claiborne County, despite a continuing aerial search. Smithson says no significant injuries have been reported, although a boat with five rescuers overturned in Covington County.


3:05 p.m.

Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett has declared a state of emergency is his Mississippi Delta town, estimating at least 100 houses have been flooded after the area received more than 10 inches of rain.

Luckett tells The Associated Press that the Big Sunflower River and tributaries are out of their banks and flooding homes, businesses and the city school system central office. Flooding is worst on the north side of the town of 18,000 people.

Firefighters have been rescuing people who had water push into their homes Friday morning and the city opened a shelter, but Luckett says only four people came.

Luckett says that while flash flooding is common in Clarksdale and other parts of the table-flat Delta, he can’t recall flooding persisting so long after rain stops or slows.


11 a.m.

Rain kept falling in Mississippi Friday as rescuers plucked people from flash flooding and residents along Delta rivers sandbagged against rising waters.

Some areas of the Delta region, including Cleveland and Clarksdale, have received more than 10 inches of rain since Wednesday, with at least some rain expected to continue through Saturday.

Mississippi Emergency Management Director Lee Smithson continues to warn that more heavy rain and flooding is likely, especially along the Gulf Coast.

Numerous rescues were reported, especially in areas around Hattiesburg, where rain was heavy from late Thursday into Friday morning.

Quitman County Emergency Management Director Jimmy Matthews says six homes around Sledge were flooded and workers are preparing for the Coldwater River to crest at near-record levels in the county seat of Marks.

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