Flood Plain

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 16, 2010

County flood plain manager predicts quiet response outside municipalities

By Billy Davis and John Howell Sr.

An opportunity for the public to review Panola County’s proposed flood mapping is drawing closer.

The Flood Risk Open House is set for December 1, in Sardis, at the Panola County EMA building.

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The building, at William J. Ferrell Drive, formerly served as the U.S. Army National Guard armory.

The updated flood mapping is required by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, after the agency conducted a flood insurance study then produced the proposed maps.

The proposed mapping has caused a ruckus in Batesville, where the study proposes to take in new areas of the city. But Panolians living in unincorporated areas will see little changes on the proposed map, said county flood plain manager Michael Purdy.

The flood map shows the “floodway” around the Tallahatchie River has increased to take in some farmland, Purdy said.

Purdy was hired by county supervisors this year to fulfill a requirement by FEMA to have a designated flood plain manager on the county’s payroll.

In Batesville, the only areas in corporate limits currently designated Flood Zone are along Highway 6 West and an area along Whitten Creek at the north corporate limits.

Under the new proposal, the south side of Highway 6 West would remain flood zone from Highway 35 to the west corporate limits. On the north side, the flood zone would be reduced alongside the highway but expanded along Cole Creek to include portions around Tubbs Road.

Elsewhere in the city, the flood zone would be drastically expanded if the new proposal is adopted.

That decision is not left to city or county leaders, City Engineer Blake Mendrop has told the mayor and aldermen.

“They’re going to be like this until you prove them different,” Mendrop told the city officials October 5.

A change in the flood plain can impact builders and developers, lenders, Realtors, insurance agents, and lending institutions.

Mendrop has since said he will help the City of Batesville prepare a response to the proposed flood maps, The Panolian has reported.

The December 1 Open House is scheduled for 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the EMA building.

Purdy said he expects the public response to be more subdued in the county, and he said the public can view the flood maps before the December 1 meeting. To reach Purdy, call 563-6313.