Reservoir officials managing high water

Barnett Reservoir officials said Tuesday they are processing another high-water event through the dam after as much as eight inches of rain had fallen over 48 hours throughout the Pearl River basin.

With more rain in the forecast, the National Weather Service is forecasting the highest river level of the year with a predicted crest of 35.5 feet on the Pearl River gauge at Jackson either on Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

At that level, the city can expect some street flooding, but reservoir officials are working hard to limit the impact.

“We will begin storing water, and we will do all we can to again mitigate flooding in Jackson and other downstream locations,” said John Sigman, General Manager of Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, the state agency that oversees operation of the 33,000-acre lake north of Jackson.

“We have been given a forecast of up to 71,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) flowing into the reservoir by Sunday,” Sigman said. “That is a significantly larger inflow than what we had two weeks ago (about 59,500 cfs) when the river reached 34.34 feet in Jackson. It is our plan to match the outflow to the inflow - until we reach 55,000 cfs and then start holding water.”

At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Barnett Reservoir stood at 295.11 feet above sea level, and is forecast to crest around 298.5 early next week, if the current forecast models hold.

More rain is forecast for Wednesday before the area begins clearing for two days before another front approaches this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Sigman said PRVWSD has been conservative in its release through Tuesday, giving downstream areas, like Jackson a chance to see local flashflood conditions pass before increasing outflows at the dam.

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