Heavy rain causing flooding, evacuations in Mississippi
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Heavy rain and flash floods drenched Mississippi, prompting rescue operations, closures and evacuations Wednesday including dozens of residents at a nursing home in the central part of the state.
Rain has pummeled the central and southern parts of the state for the last three days. In statements posted to Twitter, the National Weather Service said flash flood warnings were in effect for several areas from Jackson, the state capital, to Meridian and southward to Laurel and Prentiss, with numerous reports of flooding Wednesday.
Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said 42 residents of the Peach Tree Village nursing home in Brandon had been moved to a safe room until conditions improve, WLBT-TV reported.
Courtney Ingle, whose grandmother lives at the nursing home, told The Associated Press she called the facility after her husband saw fire trucks racing in its direction. The call would not connect. When she called her grandmother’s cellphone, a nurse answered and said residents were being evacuated.
Ingle received confirmation about 30 minutes after she first called her grandmother that residents had reached the safe room. She said firefighters and nurses were both involved in the evacuation.
“This is some straight-up local superhero-type stuff,” Ingle said. “What it boils down to is all the stuff they lost is replaceable. The 42 people they rescued are not.”
First responders in the central Mississippi county also said they were working to rescue people from their homes amid Wednesday’s downpour. Tammy Boykin, a Brandon resident, told the news station she had never seen flooding so severe in the eight years she has lived in the area. Bailey said the county had deployed one airboat, two regular rescue boats, and three high water rescue vehicles.
Leaders with the Canton Public School District in neighboring Madison County announced schools would close early Wednesday due to the flooding and impassable roads.
There have also been several car crashes reported, many due to hydroplaning, according to WAPT-TV. A Jackson man told the news station he became stranded after his car stalled on a flooded street. He said he did not realize the road he was driving on was flooded until it was too late. He sat atop his car and waited until first responders arrived.
The Neshoba County Fairgrounds, home to an annual festival and cabins dating back to 1889, was flooded Wednesday morning.
In south Mississippi, heavy rains led to flooding along area rivers, WLOX-TV reported.
The National Weather Service said it expects up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) of additional rainfall in central Mississippi through this evening. The heaviest rainfall has moved off to the east but light rain is still expected, the service said.