Lives, property depend on river's forecasters

By Mike McDaniel - email

VICKSBURG, MS (WLBT) - For Bill Frederick, it's a job of non-stop updates.

"The guidance comes in about four times a day and forecasts usually twice a day."

Frederick acts as a liaison between the National Weather Service and the Army Corps of Engineers, two agencies trying to predict how mighty the Mississippi gets.

"We're continuing to work our plan and continuing to keep abreast of the situation, maintaining and hoping that it will continue to go on with the plan," said Frederick.

It's a plan with a back bone made up of forecasts, maps and models coming from the Weather Service, which become plans of action for the Corps. Working around the clock, decisions are made sometimes at a moments notice, doing whatever it takes.

"The Corps of Engineers used all of their reservoirs to minimize the impacts of the event," said Frederick.

With everything currently flowing along with the plan, there's always room for the unpredictable. Even though the river is at its crest, mother nature is not stopping there. More rain is on the way and although it's not expected to create more flooding, it can slow down this crest from receding.

That threat has the corps on guard, watching the levees even closer, but so far they remain intact.

"We're passing an epic, historic amount of water and we're doing it within the design of the levees," said Frederick.

A design calculated and examined now on a daily basis.

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