The sun shining down on the swift, flowing Leaf River in Perry County seemed like a nice day, but for some residents, it was a day of heartache and devastation caused by last week’s rains.
“It’s the highest we’ve ever seen, it flooded really badly when I was in high school and it didn’t get nearly this high and most of my families houses are pretty much destroyed,” Perry County resident Renee Bolen said.
The Leaf River in New Augusta hit its crest Monday, at 31.25 feet, which caused wide-spread flooding. According to emergency management officials in Perry County, more than 200 homes are affected and that number could rise.
“From what I’ve been told, back in 1974 they had a flood that was equivalent to this one, but since my lifetime, this is one of the worst floods that I’ve seen,” Perry County Sheriff Mitch Nobles said.
Emergency officials are predicting another 6 to 12 inches of rising water in Beaumont, just south of New Augusta.
“This is something that our Emergency Management Director Gerry Burns is saying will take roughly 18 hours for any significant drop in the water to be noticeable,” Nobles said.
The majority of the county that is affected by flooding are along the banks of the river.
“Most of the places that are affected are homes, campers, fishing camps, things like that, most of which doesn’t normally get water in the actual buildings,” Nobles said. “A rough estimate right now, we are looking at over a 100 homes, but until all the water recedes we can’t get a fair estimate on how many homes are destroyed and how many properties have water in them.”
Vehicles line the streets in Beaumont near the Leaf River with boats in tow, some filled with personal belongings, only waiting on the water to recede.
“The original thing that we heard was it was going to crest at 29 feet, and then they said 32.5 feet, we all just started scrambling, we had people bringing in blocks for us to block up furniture and everybody just started getting out all their clothes, blankets, and what food they could to evacuate,” Bolen said.
“We opened a shelter at Perry Central High School (and) Red Cross is manning that shelter and it remains open at this time,” Nobles said. “So anybody that’s out of a home due to floods can go to Perry Central High School at the gymnasium and assistance will be provided by the Red Cross.”
Any residents in need of sandbags can go to the Beaumont and New Augusta Fire Departments.
If anyone needs assistance from the Red Cross, contact Linda Balch at 601-310-5829.