Residents Sunday began to dry out from the weekend rainfall that drenched DeSoto County and caused some roads to close due to flooding.
Among the roads that were closed at some point during the weekend were Holly Springs Road at the bridges, Red Banks Road north of Highway 178 and Nail Road at U.S. Highway 61. There was also water covering the Old Pigeon Roost Road north of Red Banks. Highway 305 south of Vaiden and south of the bridges also had flooding.
Residents on Saturday also dealt with weather warnings that included a tornado watch through the afternoon into the early evening, along with a severe thunderstorm warning that was issued Saturday afternoon.
No severe weather actually was reported in DeSoto County, although tornadoes did strike in the Columbus area and in Burnsville. At least one person died and a church was destroyed in the Columbus area as a result of the storm system that had also went through DeSoto County.
An EF-2 tornado hit in the Burnsville area about 5 p.m. Saturday with maximum winds of 115 miles-per-hour, according to the Memphis National Weather Service office. There were no injuries reported, but a number of homes sustained significant damage.
Rainfall totals for the 24-hour period ending Sunday at 7 a.m. included 4.12 inches of rain in Hernando, according to NWS information.
By contrast, Olive Branch meteorologist Sam Rikard reported 2.47 inches of rain on Saturday, part of the two-day period Friday and Saturday that netted 4.53 inches of rain.
It was the abundance of water and flooded waterways and roadways the county mostly had to deal with, and in some areas continued to deal with Monday morning.
While all of the closed roads had been reopened, repairs were being made, especially in the flood-prone Holly Springs Road area. That roadway was closed on Sunday as well, but DeSoto County Road Manager Andy Swims said it was re-opened on Monday morning.
Crews were out along the area near the barrier making repairs to damage caused by the flooding, with flagmen sending vehicles through on one lane of the road.
“The water just wouldn't quite recede over the weekend but we got it back open this (Monday) morning,” Swims said. “The speed that the water comes over can do some damage into the asphalt, certainly to the shoulder of the road and beyond. I know the road just to the east of Holly Springs Road got a lot of damage, so we’re trying to make some repairs on Dairy Barn Road.”
Holly Springs Road is the area where federal money combined with county efforts are being used to help raise the roadway and make it less flood prone in the future.
The U.S. Department of Transportation last December approved a $13 million grant to support a $30 million road and bridge improvement project to the roadway that connects Hernando to the east into Marshall County.
Swims said the land and waterway makeup of the area makes it more prone to flooding, which happened again last weekend.
“It all depends a lot of times on where the water is coming from,” said Swims. “Some areas of Holly Springs Road get hit harder than others. We have multiple creeks that come into that same location. The water is still going down so hopefully in the next few days it will make it even easier for us to get in there and make some repairs.”
While Holly Springs again appeared to be the hardest hit area, Swims added there were other parts of the county affected by the high waters.
“We had some downed trees in a few spots,” he said. “We have certain areas like Nail Road over in the Walls area that always go under water that we have to watch. When you have water going over the road there’s usually just shoulder repairs and so forth that you have to do. It was spread out enough that it just wasn't where we had just floods all at once.”
Josh Harper, Deputy Director for DeSoto County Emergency Services, said his department was ready in case the weather became more severe.
“We monitor the National Weather Service and once we see there’s a possible hazard or threat that would come into our jurisdiction, we make sure all of our response equipment is in good work order,” Harper explained. “We notify all of our first responders and keep them aware of what is going on and some of our task force responders and specialized responders, like swift water rescue and such, we’ll put them on standby in case we get calls. We make sure we get all of our notification systems going, like our outdoor warning sirens and things like that.”
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.