Corps closing floodgate as rivers rise

MISSISSIPPI DELTA — A Mississippi floodgate is closing again because water levels are rising on the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is closing the Steele Bayou floodgate north of Vicksburg after opening it May 29. Corps officials expect the gate to stay closed two to three weeks, if no rain falls along the Yazoo River backwater area that the structure protects.

When closed, the gate blocks water from the Mississippi River from overflowing into the southern Delta region, including Issaquena, Sharkey and Washington counties. But it also blocks water from the Big Sunflower and Little Sunflower rivers, Steele Bayou and Deer Creek from draining out. During the 10 days the gate was opened, officials say water drained from 120,000 acres of land that flooded during the earlier closure.

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