South Tupelo flooding evaluated

Tupelo StockBy Robbie Ward
Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo Public Works may install another drain on a street in the southwest part of the city that had more than two feet of flooding last week.

Sid Russell, director of Tupelo Public Works, said employees checked on Monday drainage systems along Rollingwood Drive and Southern Heights Road.

During flash flooding through the region on Friday, the intersection of the two streets flooded, while part of Rollingwood flooded at more than two feet high, causing a school bus to turn around and water to come just a few feet short of reaching front doors of houses on the street.

Residents said flooding has occurred in the area before but never as much as last week.

Heavy rain covered much of the area on Friday but didn’t fall evenly. National Weather Service data shows rainfall tracked at the Tupelo Regional Airport just under four inches of rain in the last seven days. However, some areas of the city received as much as five to six inches on Friday alone.

For the year, rainfall collected at the airport shows Tupelo having 36.8 inches as of Sunday, an increase of close to eight inches compared to the same time a year ago.

At the street that flooded in southwest Tupelo, public works employees “visually” evaluated parts of the drain for the streets and couldn’t find a problem, Russell said.

“From what we could get to, there appeared to be no blockage,” he said.

Russell visited the streets Friday just after the heavy rains and saw the flooding and said Monday a drainage culvert crossing Southern Heights Road near Rollingwood didn’t appear Friday to flow at full capacity.

Since city workers couldn’t view a long stretch of the drainage infrastructure for the areas, the city will contract with a company use a photograph inside of drainage pipes to identify causes for possible clogged pipes.

Along with likely installing another drain on Rollingwood Drive, Russell said the city department also will look into installing additional underground pipes to help increase rainfall flow in the area during heavy precipitation.

Ward 7 Councilman Willie Jennings, who represents part of south Tupelo including the flooded areas, said the city should work to install infrastructure to limit flooding but can’t avoid all impact from severe weather.

“If it rains hard enough and fast enough, it’ll flood for a short period of time no matter what,” he said.

robbie.ward@journalinc.com