APRIL PEARL RIVER FLOOD OF 1979
"EASTER FLOOD OF 1979"

 

CHRONOLOGY: ANTECEDENT SOIL CONDITIONS RIPEN FOR A MAJOR FLOOD
December 1978 North and Central Mississippi receive 150% normal rainfall for the month.
January 1979 All of Mississippi had more than 150% the normal rainfall. Mid-sections of the Pearl River drainage basin (around Jackson, MS) had more than 300% the normal rainfall.
February 1979 Mississippi had rainfall amounts more than 50% above normal for the month.
March 1979 March 3- 4 : 3 to 6 inches fall in the Pearl River Basin.
March 23-24: 1 to 2 inches fall in the Pearl River Basin.
April 1979 April 1-4: 2 to 4 inches fall in the Pearl River Basin
April 8-9: 1 to3 inches fall in the Pearl River Basin
CHRONOLOGY: THE BIG EVENT BEGINS
April 10, 1979 Storm system produced devastating F4 in Wichita Falls, TX. Mississippi residents are on alert for severe weather.
April 11, 1979 Squall line ahead of a slow moving cold front extended from central Louisiana through northern Mississippi and Alabama. Heavy rainfall began to fall southeast of the squall line, mainly over western Mississippi. Just before midnight, heavy rainfall extended into the Jackson metropolitan area, dumping 4 to 5 inches. Flash flooding occurred in the metropolitan area.

6am Pearl River at Jackson stage: 27.8 feet
6am Ross Barnett discharge: 18,500 cubic feet per second (cfs)
April 12, 1979 Cold front pushed into western Mississippi and became stationary. Early in the morning hours, extremely heavy rainfall, (8 to 10 inches), began falling over the headwaters of the Pearl, Noxubee, and Tombigbee Rivers. This rainfall was associated with the squall line. By late afternoon, an instability boundary formed across south central Mississippi. Heavy rain and thunderstorms continued to occur along and to the north of this boundary. Heavy rainfall occurred over areas hard hit during the early morning hours.

6am Pearl River at Jackson stage: 30.18 feet
6am Ross Barnett discharge: 33,200 cfs
April 13, 1979 Instability boundary shifted to the south. Most heavy rainfall ended early in the morning hours. The cold front pushed through the state during the day, ending the threat of additional rainfall.

6am Pearl River at Jackson stage: 33.50 feet
6am Ross Barnett discharge: 50,375 cfs

Pearl River at Philadelphia crest: 23.31 feet in the afternoon
Yockanookany at Kosciusko crest: 23.06 feet late morning.
April 14, 1979 Fair skies

6am Pearl River at Jackson stage: 37.56 feet (Flood of record exceeded)
6am Ross Barnett discharge: 101,325 cfs

Tuscolameta Creek crest: 29.77 feet around 6am.
Pearl River at Edinburg crest: 30.06 feet around 430pm
Pearl River at Carthage crest: 28.74 feet around 11pm
Yockanookany at Ofahoma crest: 28.27 feet around 11pm
April 15, 1979 Fair skies (Easter Sunday)

6am Pearl River at Jackson stage: 41.15 feet
6am Ross Barnett discharge: 120,800 cfs
Pearl River at Coal Bluff Park crest: 26.5 feet around noon
Ross Barnett discharge peak: 125,000 cfs around 930am
Inflow into Ross Barnett peak: 162,000 cfs around midnight
April 16, 1979 Fair skies

6am Pearl River at Jackson stage: 42.56 feet
6am Ross Barnett discharge: 118,500 cfs
April 17, 1979

6am Pearl River at Jackson stage: 43.09 feet
6am Ross Barnett discharge: 119,100 cfs

Pearl River at Jackson crest: 43.28 feet around 300pm
April 20, 1979 -

Pearl River at Monticello crest: 34.08 feet
April 22, 1979 -

Pearl River at Columbia crest: 27.80 feet

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