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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declares emergency amid flood threat

JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency Saturday as officials said they will be forced to start letting more water out of a major reservoir, which could increase area flooding.

In Jackson, the Pearl River is expected to crest at 38 feet by 6 p.m. on Sunday, its third highest on record.

Ross Barnett Reservoir officials said they will be forced to start letting more water out at 6 p.m. Saturday, which will likely extend the length of time the Pearl River will be at its maximum crest.

Ricky Moore, the emergency management director for Hinds County, said the additional water flow will likely keep the predicted crest level of the Pearl at about 38 feet for several days.

“That means we’ll probably get to 38 and we’ll be there for a little while,” Moore said.

Lyle Skelton, 58, of Cleveland, hold open a bag while Rod Simmons, 46, of Jackson, shovels sand as they prepare for rising floodwaters on Feb. 15., 2020.

In a Saturday conference call with the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies, it was reported that many sites in the Pearl River basin north of the lake had crested.

“We will reach capacity and have no option but to release the water,” said John Sigman, general manager of the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District that oversees operation of the lake.

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