JACKSON, Miss. — The waterlogged Tennessee Valley faces more rain and severe storms in coming days, even as flood predictions along the Mississippi River rise. More than 30 school districts in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee closed Friday after days of rain left many roads flooded. A mudslide in western Kentucky is threatening buildings in a small town. The Tennessee Valley Authority says 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain has fallen in parts of northern Alabama this week, floodwater is roaring through spillway gates on many of the federal agency’s dams, and the river could crest at the highest level in decades.
“That’s about two to three times the normal rainfall we get in the month of February just in the last week,” said James Everett, the manager of TVA’s River Forecast Center. “We’re seeing some of the highest rates we’ve seen in many decades.”
Heavy rain continued Friday morning, leading to flash flood warnings in a band across northern Mississippi and southern Tennessee, with more rain and possibly tornadoes through Saturday. The National Weather Service says the strongest chance of tornadoes Saturday will be in eastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee.
Flash floods are creeping into homes in some places. In Bruce, Mississippi, local and state workers rescued people living in some homes Friday morning, and Calhoun County Sheriff Greg Pollan urged others to evacuate.
In many places, water is spilling out of creeks and streams, covering roads and fields. In Mississippi’s northeast corner, Alcorn County Supervisor Steve Glidewell told the Daily Corinthian that floodwaters were washing out culverts and unpaved roads.
In Memphis, Tennessee, a park that sits along the Mississippi River on Mud Island has flooded, but there were no reports of homes threatened by high water. Trees weakened by consistent rain drenching saturated ground could pose a falling hazard.
In western Tennessee, Decatur County Sheriff Keith Byrd told WBBJ-TV that people were evacuating boats and campers from areas near the Tennessee River in Perryville.
In Hickman, Kentucky, a hillside gave way Wednesday in a mudslide, threatening two houses, including one that has been vacant since a 2011 mudslide. Interim City Manager Cub Stokes tells the Paducah Sun that officials are worried more rain could worsen the situation.
The Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois, could crest Sunday, with the Mississippi expected to peak at Memphis next week. In Vicksburg, Mississippi, where the river isn’t expected to crest until later in March, city workers began erecting floodwalls Thursday.
Flooding is also a concern on smaller rivers in the flat Mississippi Delta, where floodwaters can spread for miles when rivers overflow.
Associated Press writer Adrian Sainz contributed from Memphis, Tennessee.
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