Homeowners face choice of leaving or staying as floodwaters inch higher

Lindell Warren’s Olive Branch home is barricaded by sandbags.

"We’ve worked on this since Monday," he said, looking back toward his home.  For five days he’s been living on a hope and a prayer that the floodwaters wouldn’t creep closer, but Mother Nature had different plans.

"I would have liked to have gotten it higher but you have to stop when the water starts coming in on you," Warren said. 

Alexander County Board Chairman Chalen Tatum called for voluntary evacuations earlier this week after it was determined the floodwaters would overtake the nearby Len Small Levee.  It did Friday morning and Tatum said most people are heeding the warning.  "We just want people to be aware that there is a danger."

There are about 500 people living just below the levee, but Tatum urged others to evacuate as a precaution.  He cautions the waters are expected to rise for another 24 hours before the Mississippi River crests on Sunday.  "We still got another foot rise if the crest is right.  And so, it’s going to be worse before it gets better," he said. 

Warren plans to stay put, working with relatives to try to save whatever he can.  "Me and two of my brothers are staying here to run pumps," he said.

The Alexander County Road Department will be open on Saturday.  If homeowners need help with sandbagging or additional needs, they can call (618) 776-5242.

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