Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Close to the Crest, the Waterfront at Vicksburg, Mississippi
By Monday, May 16, the water had risen about 1.5 ft above the Friday level. It was 56.66 ft at 15:00, above the 1927 record. At the historic 1907 depot, water reached the ground floor windows. A week ago, someone bolted plywood panels in front of the doors and windows, but they had not been sealed with any caulk or gaskets, so it was an effort too late and too rushed.
Further north, water covered the entire dirt field north of the M/V Mississippi (compare with the photograph in the previous entry). I saw a snowy egret walking around looking for yummy worms and bugs, so at least some wildlife has been able to adapt. Tourists have adapted, too: I have never seen so many visitors downtown.
Here is some information on the Vicksburg Gage from the Corps of Engineers RiverGages.com:
Mississippi River at Vicksburg, MS
Stream Name: Mississippi River
Gage Zero: 46.23 Ft. NGVD29
Flood Elevation: 43.0 Ft.
Record High Elevation: 56.0 Ft.
Longitude: -90.90233200 Latitude: 32.31183200
River Mile: 435.7
Record High Elevation Date: 05/04/1927
Location of Gage: 1.6 miles downstream of the mouth of the Yazoo Diversion canal. Vicksburg Quandrangle.
Note that the level of 56 ft was as measured. If the levees had not failed at various locations along the basin, particularly at Greenville, the 1927 level would have been several feet higher. I believe the Vicksburg concrete floodwall was built to this higher stage. In effect, there is a considerable factor of safety built in to the Vicksburg walls.
This is the view of the waterfront south of the Depot on May 3, 1927, showing the old, lower floodwalls. The photograph is from the collection of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and is labeled:
1927 Flood Photograph Collection
"Vicksburg, Miss. 5-3-27." Flooded street and railroad tracks. Pedestrians and steamship in background.