Residents of a Leflore County subdivision swamped by water after a dam broke in Carroll County were being evacuated Friday.
“I’ve never been through nothing like this before in my life,” said Milinda Washington, after stepping out of an airboat that had rescued her and five other members of her Glendale subdivision household, as well as four other relatives who were visiting.
A pair of airboats were steadily bringing people out of the working class neighborhood of close to 200 homes east of Greenwood.
“We’ve probably pulled better than 100 people out so far,” said Leflore County Undersheriff Ken Spencer some nine hours into the rescue effort.
The water began rising Thursday night after a rain-swollen Gee Lake breached.
The watershed lake is located south of U.S. 82, near County Road 142 in Carroll County. Water escaping from it flows toward Pelucia Creek, which comes out of the Carroll County hills and travels southwest through Leflore County before emptying into the Yazoo River in the Rising Sun area.
The 115-acre dam “is now pretty much empty,” said Ken Strachan, the emergency management director in Carroll County.
The breach followed a storm that dumped torrential rains on the area Wednesday night and Thursday morning, causing widespread flash flooding.
According to the National Weather Service in Jackson, from 11 p.m. Wednesday until Thursday afternoon, 8.39 inches of rain were recorded at the Greenwood-Leflore Airport gauge. Since Monday, nearly 11 inches had fallen.
The flash flooding put water into dozens of homes in Leflore County. As that water was receding Thursday night in most residential areas, it began rising in Glendale and the nearby Lakeview subdivision due to the dam breach.
District 5 Supervisor Robert Collins, who represents that area, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had closed the floodgate on Pelucia Creek, south of Glendale. That was done, said Jason Overstreet, an area engineer with the Corps, to keep the elevated stream from backing up and causing even worse flooding. The downside is that the closing also bottles up the water behind the floodgate.
“We’ve got just about everything we need to get the rescue going," said Collins. "We just don’t got nowhere to put the water.”
Fred Randle, Leflore County’s emergency management director, said that the floodwaters were beginning to recede at around noon Friday.
“It will take a while before this water just flows out,” he said.
Patsy Ross has lived in her home on Glendale Circle for 45 years. She said she has never seen the water that high there.
She and her husband, John Ross, were among Friday’s evacuees. John said initially he thought the couple would wait it out, since their house sits on a hillside and has never flooded. Although the evacuation was not mandatory, he said the couple were strongly encouraged by authorities to leave. Patsy is recovering from a broken leg, for which she had surgery about three weeks ago.
As they walked away from the floodwaters, Patsy used a metal walker for help. The only thing they carried was a royal blue duffel bag, inside which was their nearly 14-year-old cat, Damien.
“I had to get my cat,” Patsy said.
Leflore County remains under a flood warning until at least 1 p.m. Tuesday.
- Contact Tim Kalich at 581-7243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.