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Barry exits Mid-South, damage to agriculture slight

Farm Press Staff

July 15, 2019

3 Min Read
A man wades through flood water after Tropical Storm Barry came ashore in Mandeville, Louisiana on July 14, 2019. - Tropical Storm Barry buffeted the US state of Louisiana, bringing more heavy rain and possible tornadoes to the region even as it weakened. After briefly becoming the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, Barry was downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall on Saturday. It nevertheless moved inland with a serious punch. SETH HERALD/AFP/Getty Images


Reports Tuesday morning indicate continued downpours across much of the Mid-South and northward into Arkansas as the storm lingers.

A Farm Press editor remarked, “If Barry is exiting, he’s slamming the door on the way out.”

Another reported “heavy downpour” in North Florida.

An early morning Twitter feed from NWS Little Rock noted continued heavy rain across Southwest Arkansas “and likely flooding of the Little Missouri River at Broughton.”

The report indicates the river rose 10 feet overnight and will likely crest at 25 feet, which would be the highest since 1950.

We encourage readers to provide updates of flooding and damage at [email protected].

Mid-South farmers and ranchers, for the most part, seem to be breathing a sigh of relief as damage from Tropical Storm Barry appears to be less than anticipated late last week.

But with rivers already at flood stage, ag industry observers continue to watch as the storm moves out of the region northward.

Farm Press staff members are also tracking the storm and its aftermath and have compiled this report

Billy Whitten, Valley Park, Miss., in the south Delta reports about 4 inches of rain over the weekend with light rainfall continuing. “I haven’t heard how much it has raised up through the Delta,” Whitten said. “The Backwater had fallen about 10 inches from its highest level back last month.”

Related:Funding to plant cover crops on flooded cropland acreage

Whitten said the river has risen 3 to 4 inches because of the storm. “The Steel Bayou locks are open, but there is very little difference in the level.  Hopefully the river will continue to fall. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is predicting the Backwater to crest at 98.0-98.5, which is about as high as it got last month. It’s just a watch and wait for now.” 

University of Tennessee Extension cotton specialist Tyson Raper says west Tennessee is “eerily quiet. We are absolutely saturated now, and it definitely appears more is on the way.  I suspect we will likely have a few low-lying bottoms go under before this is over.  Hopefully, it continues to fall in this type of a pattern, slow and steady, instead of a downpour."

Dan Fromme, Extension cotton, corn and grain sorghum specialist in Louisiana, says so farm damage has been “not much.”

He says for cotton, corn and soybeans, from central Louisiana north, no damage has been reported so far. “Depending on where you are, rain totals from 2 to 10 inches, but no wind damage.  Parishes on the Mississippi River got the most rain.”

Fromme says in the area south of I-10, “rice, soybean and sugarcane country may have been hit harder. I have not kept up with it down there since there is no corn or cotton.

“Basically, we are unscathed for the corn, cotton, grain sorghum, and soybeans from central Louisiana all the way to the Arkansas border. There may be some flooding in fields in parishes along the Mississippi River.

Mary Hightower, a media specialist at the University of Arkansas, says it’s too early to assess damage.

“This is sort of a slow-rolling thing,” she says. “Rain is coming down very gently but adding up. Barry’s rains are expected to continue into tomorrow (Tuesday). It may be later this week before we really know.”

She says some power outages have been reported in the southern part of the state and one county Extension offices is without phones.”

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