Contacts:        David Reed                                                                                                                                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                       (985) 643-0541                                                                                                                              March 19th, 2002

Jim Stefkovich or Marty Pope

(601) 936-2189



The National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Jackson, Miss., and the Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center (LMRFC) in Slidell, La., now provide three day river stage forecasts for the Pearl River near Lena, Miss. With the addition of the new forecast point at Lena, the LMRFC creates river stage forecasts for 212 locations throughout its service area. The forecasts are then forwarded to WFOs such as Jackson for dissemination to the public. This new forecast service at Lena is an invaluable tool for forecasting flows into Ross Barnett Reservoir, said David Reed, Hydrologist In Charge of the LMRFC. Also, the river stage forecasts help us meet the National Weather Service mission of protecting life and property for the citizens in the Pearl River basin”.

The flood stage on the Pearl River at Lena has been set at 24 feet (elevation 324 ft MSL). The river gage site is owned and operated by the United States Geological Survey In Jackson and is funded by the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District. Other river forecast services in the Pearl River drainage supported by WFO Jackson and the LMRFC include river stage forecasts for Philadelphia, Edinburg, Carthage, Ofahoma, Ratliffe Ferry, Jackson, Rockport and Monticello; and, inflow forecasts for Ross Barnett Reservoir.

The LMRFC prepares river stage forecasts for the major rivers in the south-central part of the US. Covering approximately 200,000 square miles, the forecast center's area of responsibility includes most of Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee and portions of neighboring states.

WFO Jackson provides all the weather services for 58 counties/parishes in central Mississippi, northeastern Louisiana and southeastern Arkansas. The WFO collects meteorological data, prepares and disseminates weather forecasts, river and flood forecasts and warnings; and, issues severe weather watches and warnings to the public. Additional information is available at http:// www.srh.noaa.gov/jan or http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lmrfc/ .