More than 10-inches of rain on the central and southern portions of Coahoma County have prompted flooding in low-lying areas of Clarksdale, specifically Sasse and Pearson Streets.
The waters began to rise Wednesday as more than five-inches of rain fell Tuesday night and until noon Wednesday according to the National Weather Service. This was on top of two-inches that fell on Clarksdale early Tuesday and three-inches was reported Wednesday night.
“We started seeing the (Sunflower) river rise yesterday,” said Clarksdale Ward 2 Commissioner Ken Murphey. “We got the county to throw up a quick levee around Pearson Street and got a camelback pump to get the water outside the levee.”
Water did not get into houses on Pearson Street as of today. The Sunflower stood at 21.27-feet as of mid-morning Thursday. Homeowners in the area said flood-stage for them was 23-feet in 2016 when houses went underwater.
“The difference in this and 2016 is the Sunflower is still flowing and still draining,” said Murphey. “It didn’t have anywhere to go in 2016. If it won’t rain for a few days, we should be all right.”
The National Weather Service was predicting under a half-inch of rain Thursday night and a 20-percent chance Saturday, 25-percent Sunday and sunny skies on Monday.
Murphey thanked Coahoma County Road Manager Otis Griffin for coming when he called. Murphey also thanked District 1 Supervisor Paul Pearson, whose district Pearson Street is in.
On the other side of Clarksdale, residents struggled to get down city streets on Sasse, Richie, Page, Barnes and Greg’s Loop.
A city knuckle-boom truck was spotted removing refrigerators, broken furniture and mattresses from a ditch south of Crossroads Estates in an unsuccessful effort to improve flow. A city worker was seen clearing storm sewer grates in the neighborhood.
Sasse Street is Ward 4 commissioner Ed Seal’s district and District 3 and District 4 Supervisors Derrell Washington and Johnny Newson district’s respectively.
Flooding on both Sasse and Pearson streets were promised to be addressed in the August 2019 Clarksdale bond issue referendum.
The city hosted a series of hearing at the city auditorium in May and June 2019 that focused on drainage and flooding concerns and then turned its focus on informing voters how they could cast a ballot for city improvements at the same time they voted for county candidates.
Sasse Street and Pearson Street flooding topped the list of concerns voiced at those meetings.
The city prioritized five projects totaling $8.25 million. However, after allowing for $3 million in funding from the Mississippi Department of Transportation and a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant, the city’s share would be $4.91 million.
The referendum has been tagged “Building for the Future” with city leaders pointing out this is an investment that will reap immediate rewards.
Building for the Future projects included:
1. Replace Second Street Bridge: $3,800,000.
2. Sasse Street drainage: $800,000.
3. Pearson Street levee/pump: $2,025,000.
4. Sidewalks/Lighting: $1.1 million.
5. Street rehabilitation: $500,000.
6. Friars Point Road: $3,600,000.
Projects are listed by priority and Friars Point would be added if funds become available through possible grants.
Sidewalks on Madison and Desoto streets have been completed.
The precinct voting breakdown was as follows:
Lee Drive (Ward 1)
City Auditorium (Ward 2)
Expo Center (Ward 3)
National Guard (Ward 4)
Homeowners with a home valued at $50,000 now pay $25 more in property taxes per year following the bond issue. A $100,000 home now pays an additional $50. The increase in taxes on a $200,000 home is $100.
For those who own property that is not occupied by the owner, the increase was: $37.50 annually for a $50,000 property; $75 for a $100,000 property; and $150 for a $200,000 parcel.
Clarksdale had $3.55 million in debt from general obligation bonds that were passed in 2011 and in in 2018 and prior to the 2019 bond issue.