While water levels in waterways have been receding, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has warned residents that the worst isn’t over as water is released from dams and more rain is expected in the coming days.
James Everett, the manager of the TVA River Forecast Center, says river levels have slowly decreased in northern Alabama and western Tennessee, which was inundated with 10 to 13 inches of rain during the closing days of February. This was at least twice the normal rainfall for the whole month.
The torrent resulted in flooded farms, roads and homes in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. At least one death was attributed to the flooding when a Louisiana sheriff’s deputy died after his truck went over a levee.
Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency as more flooding is expected. The declaration is expected to enable the state’s emergency preparedness office to aid local agencies in their flood response efforts.
Jim Waskom, the governor’s emergency preparedness director, urged residents within flood-prone areas to immediately “take action” to protect their homes.
A state agency also issued an emergency rule starting on March 1 affecting levees in Louisiana’s coastal area. The move will enable local jurisdictions to control activity brought by dangerous flood conditions on the Mississippi River and waterways.
Residents have been asked to refrain from unauthorized activities on levees, which includes driving, parking, mooring or using ATVs. The height and flow rate of the river increases the danger should someone get into an accident and fall in the water.
The state of emergency declaration will last until March 27, 2019.
With stronger rains, more dangerous flooding is expected to take place in areas near waterways and other bodies of water. Preparing for a flood and its other effects is highly recommended for people at risk, which includes making arrangements in case mandatory evacuations take place.