Barge stuck on dam causes flooding in Alabama and Mississippi

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Flooding in Pickensville (Southern Terrestrial Imaging)

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — A barge is stuck against a dam in Alabama, causing flooded yards in Mississippi, officials said.

The barge can’t be removed from the Tom Bevill Lock and Dam in Aliceville, Alabama, until the water goes down, Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency Director Cindy Lawrence told The Dispatch.

The barge partly sank and got stuck against the dam about 3 a.m. Saturday, said Kellis Higginbotham, lock supervisor at Stennis Lock and Dam in Columbus, Mississippi.

He said it had broken loose from its moorings at the mouth of the Luxapallila Creek and floated down the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

It’s restricting flow from two of the dam’s four gates, increasing water levels along the waterway between the two dams, he said. Columbus is about 30 miles north-northwest of Aliceville.

Heavy rains north of Columbus had prompted people on one street with houses raised on 9-foot (2.7-meter) stilts to prepare for floods, moving tractors and other equipment to storage and putting their pets in kennels.

Angie Beatty, who had moved many items from her garage to her second-story patio, said she thought the waterway had crested when she went to bed Friday.

“We would have been fine and nobody would have had an issue, and then this barge,” Beatty said Saturday morning, as water crept up her driveway and pooled in parts of her front and side yard.

The Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency alerted media Saturday morning and sent some people to warn residents about the rising water. No rescues had been needed, Lowndes County Volunteer Fire Coordinator Neal Austin said.

“I do know that there were a lot of neighbors helping neighbors move stuff to higher ground,” he said.

Rains had flooded streets in other parts of Lowndes County on Thursday night and Friday.

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