Low-lying areas in the City of Jackson are susceptible to flooding from the Pearl River as well as a number of creeks that flow through the city. These creeks include the Bakers, Big, Bogue Chitto, Cany, Eubanks, Hanging Moss, Hardy, Lynch, Purple, Three Mile, Twin Lakes (G & H), Town, Trahorn, White Oak, and tributaries. This flooding can be a result of flash flooding due to heavy storms or a steady increase in river levels due to increased runoff upstream. Although a levee protects the downtown area from the Pearl River, it does not always protect against flooding behind the levee. In 1979, the Pearl River flooded the fairgrounds and coliseum as well as parts of downtown. Flooding on the Pearl River can also cause water levels on creeks that feed into the Pearl River to rise.
Flooding can occur with very little warning and can cause an enormous amount of damage, ranging from flooded streets and eroded embankments to flooded homes and even death. Due to the vulnerability, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designated portions of the city as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA).
Natural and Beneficial Functions of FloodplainsNatural floodplains generally include marsh areas and low lying areas along creeks. Open parks also have natural flood plains. Our natural floodplains reduce damage by allowing flood waters to spread out over large areas which helps facilitate absorption into the ground, reduces flow rates and serves as a flood storage area to reduce downstream peaks. We should all do our part to help keep our floodplain and floodplain waters free of contaminants such as oil, paint, anti-freeze and pesticides. These chemicals pollute the marsh waters that the local wildlife depends upon for their habitat.
These SFHAs are identified on maps called Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The FIRMs establish the boundary of the SFHAs and the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) within them. The city of Jackson's Engineering Division is the community's principal source of information regarding Flood Insurance Rate Maps. These maps, and other reference materials concerning flood protection, are also available at Eudora Welty Library at 300 North State Street. Please contact the Engineering Division at 200 South President St., Suite 424, phone (601) 960-1651 if you need assistance or further information.
The National Weather Service issues watches and warnings when weather conditions or river levels warrant. A Flood Watch means flooding is possible. A Flash Flood Watch means a flash flood, which can happen very fast with little warning, is possible. A Flood Warning means a flood is occurring or will occur soon; the flood may take several hours to develop. A Flash Flood Warning means a flash flood is occurring or will happen very soon; you should find safety immediately. Watches and warnings will be broadcast on radio and television. Listen to local radio stations for news, information, and instructions. One radio station, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, broadcasts weather information at 162.400 MHz 24 hours a day from the National Weather Service Office in Jackson. To receive the NOAA broadcasts, you must have a weather radio or conventional AM/FM radio with a weather band.
WLBT (NBC) 3.1 (digital)
WJTV (CBS) - 12.1 (digital)
WAPT (ABC) - 16.1 (digital)
WXMS - 27 or 10 (analog), 40.2 (digital)
WMPN (PBS) - 29.1 (digital)
WUFX (My) - 35.1 (digital)
WDBD (FOX) - 40.1 (digital)
88.5 - WJSU FM
90.1 - WMPR FM
91.3 - WMPN FM
93.5 - WHJT FM
93.9 - WJAI FM
94.7 - WJLV FM
95.5 - WHLH FM
96.3 - WUSJ FM
97.3 - WFMN FM
98.7 - WJKK FM
99.7 - WJMI FM
100.9 - WJXN FM
101.7 - WYOY FM
102.9 - WMSI FM
103.3 - WJNT-FM1 (nighttime)
106.7 - WSTZ FM
107.5 - WKXI FM
620 - WJDX AM
930 - WSST AM
1120 - WTWZ AM
1180 - WJNT AM
1240 - WPBQ AM
1300 - WOAD AM
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In case of a flood, do not panic. Practice safety.
Shut off the electrical power. With the possible exception of your refrigerator, turn of all circuits at the breaker box. This will greatly reduce your risk of electrocution.
Do not walk through flowing water. Six inches of rapidly flowing water can knock a person off their feet.
Look before you step. When walking through standing water, use a pole or a stick to ensure there is still firm ground to step on.
Do not drive through a flooded area. The water may be deep enough to float your vehicle off the road. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.
Do not use an open flame to inspect damages. Use a flashlight where there are known gas lines. A candle, lantern, or even a cigarette lighter can cause an explosion if there is gas.
Stay away from power lines. Electrocution is the number two cause of death during a flood. Report downed power lines to Entergy at (800) 968-8243 or (800) 9OUTAGE.
Look out for animals. Many animals will be flooded out of their homes and will seek shelter anywhere they can. Use a stick to turn over debris very carefully. Animals will be frightened and may attack if alarmed.
Pets should be provided for, as public shelters will not allow them.
Use caution when reentering a building. Before entering a building, cautiously check for any structural damage. Many people are injured due to unsafe buildings after a storm.
Always think before acting.
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Homes and their contents represent the biggest investment for most people; however, property losses due to floods are not covered under standard homeowners policies. Talk with your insurance agent if you do not have flood insurance. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)in participating communities. This federal program permits property owners to purchase flood insurance at reasonable rates. The City of Jackson has participated in the Community Rating System (CRS) since 1991. Participation in the program means that the City carries out flood management measures which are designed to help protect the community from future flooding. Contact your agent for more information about flood insurance. Remember, there is usually a 30 day waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect. Do not wait until a bad storm threatens to inquire about flood insurance.
Flooding causes more property damage than any other type of natural disaster each year in the U.S. While new construction practices and regulations have made new homes less prone to flooding, many existing structures remain vulnerable. There are many ways to protect old and new structures from flood damage. These procedures, known as retrofitting, minimize flooding of the structure, although the property is still subject to flooding. Some recognizable approaches to retrofitting are:
Re-grade your lot to direct water from the structure.
Construct floodwalls or earthen berms to prevent floodwaters from reaching the structure.
Dry Floodproofing waterproof walls and floors.
Wet Floodproofing modifying to the structure to allow flood waters to pass through without damaging the structure.
Elevation of the structure. This may sound extreme, but for a structure which floods continuously, this may be the only solution.
If a flood is coming that you know will threaten your property, there are several steps you can take.
Use sandbags to barricade floodwaters and to help prevent erosion.
Elevate furniture and other valuables above flood protection level
Seal off sewer lines to prevent the back-flow of sewer waters.
You may not have much notification, so a detailed checklist prepared well in advance will help you remember everything.
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Any building constructed within the City of Jackson requires a building permit. Any clearing, filling, or excavation activities also require permits. Part of this permitting process may require the builder to obtain a "Land/Floodplain Development Permit". This permit is only required if the structure is going to be built in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Through this procedure, the City assures that development is in accordance with flood regulations. These regulations include requiring elevations of living floor areas and limitations on the placement of fill. The City also requires a building in a SFHA undergoing substantial improvements to meet the same standards as a newly constructed building. This is in accordance with National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) standards. A substantial improvement to a structure is one that equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value. Typically, for residential structures, this means raising the living area to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). This process reduces the risk of repetitive flood damage within the City and is also required for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Additionally, a finished elevation certificate is required for any new or substantially improved building in the SFHA.
If you know of any construction, filling, or excavating that is taking place without City permits, please report this activity to the Office of Code Services at (601) 960-1159.
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Besides flood insurance, you should protect your structure by ordinary preventive means. For example, do not sweep or blow yard leaves, pine needles, grass clippings or soil into the street or storm water system. This clogs up the pipes and prevents water from draining. If your property is adjacent to a drainage ditch, please aid the City by keeping the banks clear of brush and debris. Dumping in ditches is prohibited as stated in the City's Storm Water Management Ordinance. To report someone dumping trash into the storm drainage system or a drainage ditch, or to request needed maintenance of drainage facilities, please contact the Department of Public Works Infrastructure Management Division at (601) 960-1168.
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