Close Window

Mississippi River Connects Us All

Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No 329

Posted Thursday, Dec 31, 2015

Tornado Update:

Path Carved by Christmas Eve Eve Tornado from Bolivar County, Miss to McNairy County, Tennessee. Continuously on the ground for 145 miles. Map from the National Weather Service.

Update from Clarksdale: Some corrections and updates from Monday’s posting about the Christmas Eve Eve tornado, and torrential rainfall the next day.

Two deaths in Coahoma County:

First of all, I am sad to report that we did have tornado deaths in Coahoma County, this has been confirmed through several sources. Just yesterday the mother of one of our victims passed away in intensive care at the hospital from injuries sustained in the same. So we lost 2 people in Coahoma County alone. Mother and daughter both lost to this tornado. Our deepest sympathies go out to their family and loved ones. This must be very difficult to bear, especially during this time of year.

“The damage at Roundaway, Lurand and Bellview was catastrophic,” wrote Publisher Nathan Duff in the Clarksdale Press Register Wednesday Dec 30th issue. “We have received reports that one woman has died from injuries sustained when her home at Bellview was hit, and many others suffered injuries ranging from scrapes and cuts to more severe trauma. As bad as it was, it could have been worse, but that in no way minimizes the pain and distress of those effected. Count your blessings if you escaped the damage, and keep those that didn’t in mind. This kind of event has repercussions that can last far beyond the cleanup”

For photos and more stories from the tornado and flooding in Coahoma County, go to the Clarksdale Press Register website.

Quitman County:

Our Sen Robert Jackson shared this report from Quitman County, which seems to be getting ignored in the reports: "We also have many families who lost their homes in the Marks area as well and need your prayers and assistance. Call Don Green at Ms Delta Council for Farm Worker Opportunities. 662-627-1122."

Updated Tornado Report:

Thanks to everyone who has been calling or writing in concerned about how we’re doing after the Christmas Eve Eve storms, one of which produced an unusually long-lasting tornado that swept a diagonal path 149 miles across northern Mississippi into Tennessee, reportedly staying on the ground the whole way. We are okay in Clarksdale proper, but outlying areas in the county got hit hard. “The damage at Roundaway, Lurand and Bellview was catastrophic,” wrote Publisher Nathan Duff in the Dec 30th Clarksdale Press Register. Homes and a crop-duster airport were damaged near Clarksdale; emergency crews said about 25 homes are severely damaged in Coahoma County, and many more have minor damage. An entire subdivision was wiped out in the Bellview area. Two dead in Coahoma County as result of tornado, and nearby Benton and Marshall Counties got hit hard with multiple deaths reported. the initial report of 14 victims has climbed to 19 reported perished and over 40 injured, some severely, as result of this historic storm.

Donations for North Mississippi Tornado Victims:

Several of you have wondered how to help... Thank you for your attention in our time of need! Here is a recent email from Delbert Hoseman, the Mississippi Secretary of State:

Our friends and neighbors in North Mississippi were devastated by a tornado before Christmas. I have never been to a disaster site in our State where the American flag was not planted in the face of that disaster. The man in this destroyed trailer survived. The strength of the tornado was horrific, but the resiliency of our people is stronger. Mississippians come together in times of need. I encourage you to make a contribution today. Donations, checks, and contributions may be made to the following organizations and communities:

Coahoma County

Drop off supplies at the Civic Auditorium, 506 East 2nd St., Clarksdale, MS 38614

Tate County

Drop off supplies at Senatobia Fire Station #1, 137 N. Front St., Senatobia, MS 38668

Suggested items: water, non-perishable foods, blankets, diapers, dog food, personal hygiene items, batteries and flashlights

Marshall County

Drop off supplies at Eddie Smith Multipurpose Center, 235 N. Memphis St., Holly Springs, MS 38635 or First Baptist Church, Volunteer Reception Center, 109 East College St., Holly Springs, MS 38635 (open from 9 a.m to 6 p.m.)

Benton County

Drop off supplies at Ashland Church of Christ, 47 Hwy 4 West, Ashland, MS 38603

American Red Cross

Donate by calling 1-800-REDCROSS

Donate online at

Drop off donations at 9 River Bend Pl., Flowood, MS 30232

Tippah County

Send contributions for disbursement to the needy citizens to:

Walnut Fire Department, 27880 MS Hwy 15,Walnut, MS 38683 or

Three Forks Community Disaster Relief Fund, The People’s Bank, Attn: David Horton, P.O. Box 38, Walnut, MS 38683

Send contributions for rebuilding the Three Forks Fire Department building to:

Three Forks VFD Building Fund, The People’s Bank, Attn: David Horton, P.O. Box 38, Walnut, MS 38683


Donate online at

Salvation Army

Donate by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Donate online at

Eyewitness Reports in Coahoma County

The tornado was visible from the Hopson Plantation, the Shack Up Inn, and must have come across the Sunflower River somewhere south of there, maybe in the Dublin/Roundaway area. Clarksdale narrowly missed being hit by the tornado. It passed within five miles of town. But nearby communities were hit hard. Belleview especially, we've heard that 25 houses were destroyed in the county and many more damaged. And the rain was torrential. We got 6 - 10 inches of rain in a short intense burst of storms starting Christmas Eve, but mostly falling Christmas morning, the day after the tornado, and now all the fields and drainages are full of water, and the Sunflower River rose 10 feet in about 6 hours on Christmas morning, and is now flooding big time, the highest its been since 2011 I think, judging by the muddy water creeping across the parking lot at Quapaw Canoe Company.

Mississippi River Forecast

The entire Lower Mississippi and Middle Mississippi River Valleys have been experiencing heavy rainfall in these same storms, with flood walls being closed and the big river is now in major flood stage in St. Louis, and forecasted to crest around 48.5 in Cape Girardeau on Jan 2nd (which is at record height -- as high as it got in the catastrophic floods of 1993). The forecast for the Lower Miss is not as dire, 59 feet at the mouth of the Ohio River (Cairo, IL) on the 5th of January. (This is 19 feet above flood stage in Cairo), but it is expected to crest at 43.5 Memphis (9.5 feet above flood stage), at 44 in Baton Rouge on Jan 19th (9 feet above flood stage) and at 17 in New Orleans on the 20th.

Compared to the Great Flood of 2011

These levels are just barely under the water levels during the Great Flood of 2011, and are breaking records for water this high at this time of year. Natchez for instance, is forecast to crest at 60 feet, which is just 2 feet under the 2011 crest of 63 feet. But New Orleans is even closer -- the Crescent City will be cresting less than a half foot below the 2011 flood. New Orleans is expected to crest at 17 feet on the 20th. The river rose to 17.38 in the Great Flood of 2011. Note: the levees protect NO up to 20 feet.

Whew! 2016 is going to be an interesting year on the Lower Miss... Might be a good year to get a canoe, a kayak, or a stand up paddleboard. Or come join us for an adventure of a lifetime on the wild free-flowing waters of the Lower Mississippi River.

In advance, let us wish you a Happy Canoe Year
-- from all of us at Quapaw Canoe Company!

For more photos of the Lower Miss and more reading, go to

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is a service of the Lower Mississippi River Foundation
Clarksdale, Mississippi ~ Helena, Arkansas