Flooding forces road, school closings in Mid-South

(Source: Viewer Tommy Jones)
(Source: Viewer Tommy Jones)

DESOTO COUNTY, MS (WMC) - Several inches of rain have been dumped on the Mid-South this week, and we're starting to see the effects.

Hardeman County Schools will be closed Friday, Feb. 23 after the sheriff's office reported more than 17 flooded roads in the area. Fayette County Schools will also be closed Friday.

Flash flooding throughout the Mid-South is causing roads to flood quickly and dry up just as fast. During these conditions, what looks like a little water on a small road ban actually be a deep water hazard.

"This is the second time this year," Mississippi resident Rick Erla said.

People living in Hernando said flooded roads have become the norm.

"Whenever you get more than 5 or 6 inches, in about 24 hours this happens," Erla said.

Erla has lived near Holly Springs Road for more than 15 years. He said the flooding can be a bit of a headache, causing people to drive out of the way.

"So they're going to have to travel an extra 10, sometimes 20 miles to get around," Erla said.

Just a few miles down the road, heavy rain caused a washout on County Line Road, causing it to cave in. Now crews working around the clock to fix the problem.

"The road may be out a day or two, or it may be out a week or two," resident Mr. Porter said.

Residents are hoping the rain will hold off, and the county can come up with a solution to fix the draining problem.

"I would like to see a road put in across the bottom to where we wouldn't have to have this happen to us each time," Mr. Porter said.

WMC reached out to the DeSoto County Sheriff's Office to see if there was a plan to help prevent flooding in the future.

There's currently a bill in the state legislature that would provide funds to fix Holly Springs Road.

For store clerks at Smart's Grocery, empty seats and no customers could only mean one thing.

"Nobody's coming in here when the road's closed," store clerk Kelsey Owen said.

Closed roads and flooding are nothing new to Hernando residents.

"It's a pain in the rear is what it is," store clerk Joyce Pryor said.

A normally busy road is covered in water, and a usually busy store is empty.

"Normally that's real busy right there," resident Bobby Winter said. "That's why there's no traffic there because people that live in the area know that the roads are closed and they're not over here."

"You have people coming in getting gas, cigarettes, sandwiches, food...ya know?" Pryor said. "Right now, nobody."

Store clerks said the lack of traffic in and out of the store is bad for business.

"The parking lot would be full most days," Pryor said.

But the heavy rain Wednesday caused flash flooding, completely shutting down parts of Holly Springs Road right where the store sits. Workers hope the issue will be fixed sooner rather than later.

"They're talking about raising the road, maybe starting sometime this summer," Pryor said. "They need to go ahead and start."

On Highway 57 a mile-and-a-half east of Rossville, Tennessee, flooding swept two vehicles off the road. Nobody was injured.

On North Houston Levee Road in Eads, two trucks ended up under water. The drivers were teens driving to school. They said they were driving along the road and didn't see the deep water covering the road until it was too late.

"They hydroplaned and one hit his breaks and one happened to hit the back of them," Jeff Turner, father of one of the boys, said. "We wanted to know about the safety of our children first of all foremost other than that we can take care of anything else."

The rain is expected to last through Saturday. Much of the Mid-South is currently under a flood watch until Sunday at 6 a.m. This means that there is potential for flooding with 2-3 inches of rain expected in areas along and west of the Mississippi River, with locally higher amounts.

Rain chances will be lower Thursday night and early Friday, but we will have another round of showers and storms late Friday through Saturday.

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