Tedious Days for Mississippi Flood Evacuees
In the area of Mississippi hardest-hit by river flooding, evacuees passed time in shelters Wednesday by reading books, praying or smoking cigarettes as officials warily watched waters inch toward the top of a nearby levee that protects thousands of acres of farmland. Cargo was slowly moving along the bloated Mississippi River after a costly daylong standstill.
Some of the worst flooding in Mississippi has been in the Vicksburg area, where people have been living in shelters for nearly two weeks. It's anyone's guess when they'll be able to return to what's left of their homes. The river is expected to crest there Thursday, but the governor said it could take until late June for water to retreat in certain places.
"Lord only knows when it's going to recede. It's so much water," said evacuee Steven Cole, who's staying at a Vicksburg church being used as shelter for Red Cross victims.
Barge traffic on the river had resumed after the Coast Guard closed a 15-mile stretch at Natchez, Miss. for much of Tuesday, blocking vessels heading toward the Gulf of Mexico and others trying to return north after dropping off their freight.
Such interruptions could cost the U.S. economy hundreds of millions of dollars for each day the barges are idled, as the toll from the weeks of flooding from Arkansas to Louisiana continues to mount.