Pearlington makes it through high waters with no homes flooded - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pearlington makes it through high waters with no homes flooded

Pearlington resident Jay Gillen cleans his deck of river silt on Saturday. (Photo source: WLOX News) Pearlington resident Jay Gillen cleans his deck of river silt on Saturday. (Photo source: WLOX News)
PEARLINGTON, MS (WLOX) -

The Pearlington community is almost back to normal after flood waters from the Pearl River receded back to the banks.

On Saturday, Jay Gillen was chief cook - and chief deck washer - as river muck made a mess, and water soaked the walls of his garage.

“Just made a mess,” Gillen said. “But you know, to live on a little piece of paradise, sometimes that’s what you gotta put up with.”

Gillen, who made clean up a party and invited all his friends, says he’s never seen the water so high; even in its banks.

“Normally, it’s 4 or 5 feet below this deck right here,” noted the homeowner. 

He tried to ride it out at the beginning, but left for fear he would be stuck.

“I stayed for the first night,” Gillen said. “And then half of the second day, and this water looked like it was moving at 20 miles an hour.”

But the good news was that no homes were flooded.

Hancock County Emergency Management Director Brian Adam says he’s not sure how much water actually came through the Pearlington community, but that the river was 5 to 6 feet above the 14-foot flood stage.

Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie has had a camp in the area since 1976. Saturday was his first look at the property since the severe weather, and a flooded driveway means he’ll have to come back another day.

“We’re fine,” Skellie said. “I see a few little things that are gone underneath, but they weren’t real important. And actually, it’s not as bad as what I think it was ‘83. It was bad in ‘83.”

Meanwhile, overworked and tired emergency rescue crews are still on duty. But because of good news about how well Pearlington made it through the flood, the atmosphere is much lighter.

Saturday’s meeting was almost a day off, but not quite.

“Our job is to project the public, and the fire department’s job is to protect the public,” Adam said. “And, sleep comes at a minimum at them times.”

West Hancock Fire Chief Kim Jones says it was teamwork that paid dividends.

“Oh, it’s great. Everything worked great. Number one, the flood wasn’t as bad as we were expecting," said Jones. "My firefighters, the EOC and the Sheriff's Department crews worked excellent together. Best protection we’ve ever had down here.”

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