DESOTO COUNTY - Potential danger in the north delta where several roads at the bottom of the Arkabutla dam have been closed to help assess the chances of a possible dam break.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers activated it’s emergency operations center after identifying a potential breach at the dam which backs up the Coldwater River.
The Arkabutla dam sits on the Western edge of the lake along the DeSoto and Tate County lines.
The corps of engineers says the problem, is near the spillway.
The roads along the base of the dam are closed along with the day use areas near the spillway.
The closures along Arkabutla Lake are a sign that this problem and the potential for a dam breach poses a serious threat not only in the north delta... But all the way downstream to the rest of the delta.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the Arkabutla dam in 1940 to hold back the Coldwater river.
The lake it created is one of 4 flood control lakes operated by the corps, including Enid, Sardis, and Grenada lakes.
The dam is 11-thousand 500 feet long and about 67 feet high.
The Coldwater runs into the Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers.
It normally averages a flow of more than 13-hundred cubic feet per second.
A breach at the Arkabutla dam could be disastrous for those of us downstream.
Planning maps from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency show an Arkabutla dam breach would inundate much of Tunica, almost all of Quitman County, and a sizable piece of Western Tallahatchie county.
MEMA says, it's possible the impact could also reach into Coahoma, Sunflower and pieces of Panola, Bolivar and even Washington counties... And perhaps all the way down into Humphries and beyond.
Some reports say there could be some flooding concerns for Greenwood, Belzoni and many smaller communities.
The Corps says it plans to draw down the lake from it's current 228 feet to 210 to get a better look at the potential problem, a process that could take a couple of weeks.
The Corps says it plans to monitor the situation 24 hours a day and 7 days a week until the danger subsides.
So what do delta experts say about the potential threat to the delta?
The Delta News went to the most experienced expert in the region to get an answer to that question.
Chief engineer for the Mississippi Levee Board, Peter Nimrod, explains some parts of the delta would likely remain high and dry if the ark-a-but-la dam were to break.
"So right now, they're just releasing water. Okay, so the water is coming through the Coldwater river coming down through Marks Mississippi, and eventually it works his way down to the Yazoo River. He has a city in the works as well. We're down to Vicksburg, into the Mississippi River. So, so none of this water even if there was a breach, actually would come into the Delta portion where the majority of the delta is Cleveland, Greenville Indianola, and I know that we get flooded, because all that water actually goes into the Yazoo River so not looking like that's going to happen at all. It doesn't look like any danger. All they're doing right now is just releasing the water to get the lake really low second situation and actually make the repairs in the next couple of weeks."
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