George County residents battle rising river

George County residents battle rising river

GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of George County residents have been caught off guard by a river spilling out of its banks. Several neighborhoods are inundated by flood waters from the Pascagoula River, the highest level on the river since 1974

Longtime river dwellers like Van Williams are shocked.

"I've lived on this river almost 35 years, and I've not seen it like this," Williams said.

The mail won't be coming for a while, and speed limits only apply to boats for the time being. However, according to Williams, the river is dangerous.

"It's hard to stay safe with this water, and the condition it's in. As swift as it is back here, we're just having to boat in and out."

So dangerous, a man was thrown from his canoe and rescued by Steven Thompson.

"We got to him and he didn't have enough strength to get in the boat. It was all we could do to drag him in the boat. His canoe is still out. But just thank the Lord that we were able to get to him before bad came of it," Thompson said.

George County supervisors are just as shocked. A special meeting was called to declare a state of emergency.

"If we have damage, not just to people's homes, but also property damage to the county, roads, things like that, this allows us to request assistance if it's needed," board president Larry McDonald explained.

Many of the homes are high enough to withstand the raging water, but others aren't as lucky. With water covering several George County roads up to 10 feet deep, power and electricity becomes a big concern.

"We're looking for low lines. People boating in and out, and make sure there's nothing low enough that they would get into.  We're also checking on the meters and stuff that are underwater," said Robbie Fairley with Singing River Electric Power Association. "We'll be changing out a lot of meters and a lot of them will have trouble with their boxes with this water.  They'll have to re-do their boxes and get the disconnects from us so they can change them out."

It's a change some river dwellers didn't see coming.

Emergency management officials in George County estimate it could take up to a week for the flood waters to recede, as long as additional heavy rain doesn't fall in the next day or two.

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