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Concerns of breach at Arkabutla Dam elevated following heavy rain

Arkabutla Dam
Arkabutla Dam (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corpse of Engineers)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a potential breach watch for Arkabutla Dam due to the uptick in precipitation raising the water levels in the reservoir.

Residents of Coahoma, DeSoto, Panola, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Tunica counties are under the watch.

Officials noted that the physical condition of the dam is unchanged as of now and a breach is not imminent. However, the recent rainfall paired with the melting of ice and snow from the cold snap the state experienced has elevated concerns of a possible catastrophe in northwest Mississippi.

This potential breach is associated with observed signs of distress discovered last May in which a depression was discovered towards the bottom of the dam during a routine inspection, prompting emergency actions to be taken.

Emergency repairs are expected to be completed this summer. Operational releases associated with lowering the lake are not expected to induce downstream flooding.

The USACE’s Vicksburg District is coordinating with the National Weather Service and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to maximize public awareness in affected areas. Crews remain on the ground to monitor the situation at Arkabutla Dam for any changes.

Current conditions at Arkabutla Dam include:

  • Reservoir Pool Elevation — 213.6 feet elevation
  • Spillway Crest Elevation — 238 feet elevation
  • Spillway Status — Not Activated
  • Pool Restriction — 204 feet elevation
  • Current releases — 2,000 cubic feet per second

USACE officials ask those with questions or concerns to direct them to their county emergency management agency.

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