COLUMBIA — About 350 structures were affected by the recent flooding in Columbia, Miss. as the Pearl River crested at 25.6 on Sunday, Feb. 23. Currently the river is at 15.7 feet, which is below the flood stage. During the flood, about four water rescues were executed and one person was displaced. Even though Marion County Emergency Management had predicted the river would drop below flood stage, the town remained under a flood warning through March 4 due to heavy rain. Columbia was spared catastrophic flooding but photographs by photojournalist Eric J. Shelton reveal the toll the river took on residents and infrastructure. 

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Eric J. Shelton was a 2018 corps member in Report for America, and joined the team as our first photojournalist. A native of Columbia, Miss., Eric earned his bachelor’s in photojournalism from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a multimedia journalist for Abilene Reporter-News, chief photographer for the Hattiesburg American and photo editor for the Killeen Daily Herald before joining our team June 2018. He rejoined Mississippi Today as our health photojournalist in January 2022.