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Ridgely during the flood. (Photo-Dr. Alexander Leech)


January 22, 1937

Record Flood in Sight, 55.5 Ft.

Sure at Cairo

The old man is on a bender again. And with the Thursday morning river forecast from Cairo predicting a stage of 55.5 feet on the Cairo gauge by next Thursday, Lake County is faced with the grim prospect of experiencing a high water of more serious proportions than ever in history.

The stage at Cairo Thursday morning was 51.5, a rise of 1.6 feet during the preceding 24 hours. Continuing general rains up the valley made the matter of predicting just how great the flood would actually stop at is largely guesswork.

The most immediate danger existed at the Slough Neck (Bessie) levee, where a cave-in last spring made a gap in the levee through which the present flood was sure to send water sometime next week, if emergency measures were not taken.

A phone call by John C. Jackson to Mr. Steel, of the Cairo office of the Engineers Department, was relayed by Wm. Steel to Memphis, and 10,000 sacks were sent to Lake County Early Thursday morning to be filled with sand and stop-gap the low place in the levee. The sacks were expected to arrive here Thursday evening. Impassable roads made it necessary to truck them from Memphis around through Martin and thence into Tiptonville.

County trucks were busied Thursday noon hauling sand from the John C. Jackson farm at Pea Ridge to a site near the low place in the Bessie levee. This sand will be used to fill the sacks which will be put on the levee as rapidly as possible by laborers and teams.

Other general emergency measures have been taken as follows:

Mr. Cato, levee overseer for this section, arrived here from his headquarters in Cairo to give constant attention to the levees.

Night and day watches have been established on the Bessie levee to watch it constantly.

Arrangements have been made with Capt. Gather, commander of the CCC camp on the lake, so that the CCC boys may be called on at any time to assist when any necessity arises.

Meanwhile farmers, upon hearing the Thursday morning report, were left no resort but to get their belongings out of overflow areas. Families have left their home during all the week and have taken up temporary quarters where ever they could get them in Ridgely. Sheep Ridge residents began final preparations to vacate Thursday, although delays by many will necessitate the use of the Tiptonville Ferry to get stock out of danger, it appeared.

The Tiptonville Ferry closed operations across the river Saturday noon of last week, being one of the last ferries on the river to stop.


10.92 Inches Rain in Twenty Days

-Only four Days in January in Which No Precipitation is Recorded

The general rainfall which has fallen for the last three weeks over a large portion of the upper reaches of the Mississippi basin has shown no neglect for Lake County. A total of 10.92 inches had been recorded by E. A. Peacock on his rain gauge at 8 o’clock Thursday morning for the month of January.

On only four of the twenty periods of 24 hours thus far in January has there been no precipitation. These four days were Jan. 1, 3, 4, and 16.

The heaviest rainfall was recorded for the 15 hours period from 7 pm last Wednesday until 8 o’clock Thursday morning when 3.5 inches fell in a rain which did not cease practically all night long. The next highest total was on Jan. 7, when 1.68 inches was recorded.


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