A state of emergency has been declared in Greenwood due to the prospect of flash flooding. 

The City Council approved the declaration in a special called meeting Wednesday.

The local emergency proclamation allows municipal workers to enter private property to set sandbags to protect residential areas from flooding, Fred Randle, director of emergency management for Leflore County, explained.

The county’s Board of Supervisors declared a major state of emergency on Tuesday, which allows the county to receive additional help for flood prevention efforts as well as the ability to go on private property.

Randle said he has not had any reports of flooded homes. Mayor Carolyn McAdams said that the Department of Public Works spent Tuesday distributing sandbags to residents living in low-lying areas.

The National Weather Service in Jackson has issued a flash flood watch for Greenwood and the surrounding area until 6 a.m. Thursday.

Since Jan. 1, Greenwood has received nearly 14 inches of rain, according to the weather service. It’s estimated that another 1 to 2 inches could fall before the storm system clears out Thursday.

Randle said that the lulls between rainfall are the time to make sure drains and drainage ditches are clean.

McAdams again emphasized that residents can help ease the threat of flash flooding by keeping the drainage ditches in front of their homes clean of debris. Otherwise, the debris blocks the water from entering the storm drain.

Though city workers do clean drainage ditches, it is ultimately the residents’ responsibility, she said.

The floodgates at Poplar Street, Riverside Drive, Cotton Street, Lee Street and Claiborne Avenue have been closed to prevent water from the Yazoo and Tallahatchie rivers from backing up into the pumps, McAdams said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also has shut the floodgates near Medallion Street and Claiborne Avenue Extended, the mayor said.

Council President Ronnie Stevenson said a portion of Strong Avenue was temporarily blocked off earlier in the week due to a buildup of water.

The Yazoo River’s level at Greenwood was at 33.69 feet as of Wednesday morning. It is projected to rise to 33.9 feet between Thursday night and Friday morning.

The river’s flood stage is 35 feet.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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