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Structural issues found in Arkabutla Lake dam in Mississippi

Officials say the dam isn't at the point of failure right now, but there is structural damage that requires emergency repairs to prevent a breach.

ARKABUTLA, Miss — A dam on the border of DeSoto and Tate Counties in Mississippi was flagged for potential failure Tuesday, prompting road closures and a flash flood watch for the region.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), who operates the Arkabutla Lake Dam in North Mississippi, said Tuesday they activated their district's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) after identifying breach conditions at the dam.

The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Watch for parts of North Mississippi due to the potential failure of the dam. If the dam fails, areas along the Coldwater River below the dam will flood.

Officials say the dam is not at a point of failure right now, but the situation is serious enough that emergency repairs are underway. The lake levels are currently being lowered to relieve stress on the dam and to allow for those repairs to take place.

USACE said the EOC will operate on extended hours as necessary to coordinate response to any impacts within the district’s area of responsibility. EOC personnel will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (601) 631-5367.

Observed conditions at the dam’s outlet structure led to the declaration, USACE said, and also said they will provide updates as they become available.

All recreation areas and road access immediately downstream will be closed until a determination has been made that activity can resume. The following areas are closed at this time:

  • Old Pratt Road
  • Scenic Route 301 along the base of Arkabutla Dam
  • South Outlet Channel Campground and Day Use Area, including Swinging Bridge Nature Trail and Boat Ramp
  • North Outlet Day Use Area, including playgrounds, pavilions, the fishing pier, and Coldwater River Nature Trail
  • Basketball court

The Arkabutla Dam was built in 1943 and is a popular recreation area in DeSoto County.

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