Friday, January 8, 2016

Lost flood zone houses: Marys Alley, Vicksburg, Misissippi

As of January 2016, another flood is surging down the Mississippi River. The high water, predicted to be about 52 ft above gauge zero on the Vicksburg gauge, will inundate low-lying areas west of North Washington Street. The 2011 flood reached 57.1 ft, a record, but even at only 44.6 ft, the Kings subdivision, located north of the Anderson-Tully Vicksburg sawmill, is subject to some degree of inundation. As a result, residents of homes built on ground level have often needed to evacuate, and the homes were repeatedly damaged. Finally, many of these low houses were purchased and removed via a FEMA program. As of 2012, all the houses along Marys Alley were gone. Click the link to see an aerial photograph from an older post.
These little houses were pretty rough by the time they had been condemned. I guess they were 1940s vintage, semi-shotgun style. They were elevated off the ground a few feet and probably had survived several high water events. But some other houses in this area were 1960s- or 1970s-vintage with slab foundation. A slab house in a flood-prone area?

These are scans of 120-size Kodak Panatomic-X film, exposed with a Fuji GW690II camera with 90mm EBC Fujinon lens. The camera was tripod-mounted. I scanned the negatives with a Minolta Dimage Scan Multi medium format film scanner.

The following list shows historic crest levels at the Vicksburg gauge, from the National Weather Service:

Historic Crests
(1) 57.10 ft on 05/19/2011
(2) 56.20 ft on 05/04/1927
(3) 53.20 ft on 02/21/1937
(4) 52.80 ft on 06/06/1929
(5) 52.50 ft on 04/28/1922
(6) 51.60 ft on 05/13/1973
(7) 51.50 ft on 02/15/1916
(8) 51.00 ft on 04/20/2008
(9) 50.20 ft on 04/16/1897
(10) 49.90 ft on 04/27/1913

And here are some low water records. You can see that the total water level range can be as much as 64 feet.

Low Water Records
(1) -7.00 ft on 02/03/1940
(2) -6.80 ft on 11/01/1939
(3) -5.80 ft on 01/06/1964

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