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As Mississippi braces for floods, Jackson mayor urges people to evacuate

A homeowner keeps an eye on the depth of floodwaters Aug. 28, while driving through a neighborhood in northeast Jackson, Miss. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

Residents near the Pearl River in Mississippi prepared for flooding this weekend as the mayor of the capital, Jackson, warned people to evacuate “as soon as possible” if they hadn’t already.

The river, which runs through the southern part of the city, was expected to crest at about 36 feet on Monday, possibly on Tuesday, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba (D) said Sunday on CNN.

As many as 150 homes in the northeast and southern parts of the city are threatened, Lumumba said. Flooding in the area in 2020 serves as a reference point for this week’s weather, Lumumba said, so “we know the damage that can occur.”

During that flood, the Pearl River crested at 36.67 feet.

Gov. Tate Reeves (R) issued a state of emergency on Saturday in preparation for the flooding. He said in a statement that “if your home flooded in 2020, there is a high probability it will happen again.”

State authorities were “monitoring this situation closely,” he said.

The state has prepared by deploying drones to assess water levels, as well as 126,000 sandbags.

The Red Cross was operating an evacuation shelter at the Jackson Police Training Academy, Reeves said.

Despite the urgency, Reeves urged “everyone to remain calm. Be aware, but don’t panic.”

Lumumba said residents had already been “inundated with persistent rain” in recent days, complicating preparation efforts. “By and large,” people have heeded calls to evacuate, he said.

Residents have been advised to pack evacuation kits with up to two weeks of supplies, as the “water can be with us for some time.”