The Pearl River looking north from U.S. 80 on Apr. 15, 2021. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency Saturday as Mississippi officials received a new projection of flooding from the Pearl River. The National Weather Service now expects the river to crest by early Monday morning.

“If this happens, there will be dozens of streets in downtown Jackson that will flood,” Reeves said, adding that businesses near Town Creek as well as homes and streets in Northeast Jackson that may also flood if the Pearl reaches the projected 36 feet peak.

With the river forecast changing in the last 24 hours Reeves emphasized that projections are subject to evolve over the next few days.

Officials said that Jackson residents who were affected by the floods in 2020 should anticipate similar impacts.

As of Saturday morning, the NWS projects the Pearl to crest by 6 A.M. Monday morning, meaning that residents whose homes may be flooded should prepare to evacuate by Sunday evening, Reeves said.

To see their flood risk, Jackson residents can use the city’s interactive map at this link, or refer to a list of streets that may be affected on the city’s website by clicking here.

Reeves and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency officials also reminded residents that if they anticipate flooding in their homes to take pictures of their property before and after the flooding to document any damages. Doing so helps meet the guidelines for Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual Assistance Program, which Jackson residents didn’t receive after the 2020 flood.

As far as other areas along the Pearl that could see flooding, Reeves said the river could peak in Monticello around Thursday, Columbia around Friday, and Pearl River County the following Tuesday. Those projections could change depending on how quickly the Ross Barnett Reservoir management is able to release water back into the river, the governor added.

MEMA director Stephen McCraney said that the following areas around Mississippi have declared local emergencies: Wilkerson, Rankin, Hinds, Leake, Newton, Clarke, and the City of Jackson. Among those areas, 45 homes, 13 businesses, and 55 roads have flooded so far, McCraney said.

Officials also expect that Lawrence and Copiah counties could see moderate flooding next week as high water levels make their way down the Pearl.

The American Red Cross has one shelter open in Jackson so far, at 3000 Saint Charles St., located at the Jackson Police Department Academy.


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Alex Rozier, from New York City, is Mississippi Today’s data and environment reporter. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Open Secrets, and on NBC.com. In 2019, Alex was a grantee through the Pulitzer Center’s Connected Coastlines program, which supported his coverage around the impact of climate change on Mississippi fisheries.