JACKSON, Miss. – For 11 years, Sacheen Stamps never thought about flooding. She bought insurance when she moved into her home and promptly forgot about it.
It's all the 43-year-old can think about now. She can't sleep.
Sunday afternoon, she watched the water creep higher. It had inundated her neighbors only a few dozen feet to the south. It filled the gutters of her front yard.
"I'm very nervous," said Stamps, a Nissan manager who lives in the one-story brick home with her mother and 17-year-old daughter.
The family stayed with a relative nearby. They packed some furniture in a U-Haul and left other belongings behind, propped up on cinderblocks.
"Things can always be reobtained," Stamps said, "but life can't."
Stamps was one of hundreds of Jackson residents who either watched their homes flood over the weekend or worried their residence would soon be drenched as the Pearl River rose toward 38 feet.
Moving vans were parked in many southeast Jackson driveways Sunday afternoon, ready for additional evacuations. Usually quiet neighborhoods were bustling as people checked on their neighbors and friends or tried to catch a glimpse of engorged creeks spilling into neighborhoods. Police cars swarmed.
“I have a lot of money tied up in this house," said Iietta Sanders, who anxiously monitored water levels on her street Sunday afternoon. "You can’t probably sell it … because who wants to move in? I’m hoping and praying the water don’t come this far. I hope it stops where it’s at.”
Previously reported: Historic flooding slams Mississippi as river rises
Mark Wakefield knows what it takes to rebuild after flooding: His in-laws’ home in Jackson has flooded four times before. The worst was in 1979 when the house was 8 feet underwater. The home has flooded again, he said, and this time, they might not come back.
“It’s no fun,” Wakefield said. “Once the water’s in the house, we’re looking at months of cleanup and reconstruction. It’s nothing life-threatening to us, we’re careful enough ... but it’s just extremely frustrating and disgusting to have to go through this.”
Nate Green and his two kids, ages 6 and 8, couldn’t get through Jackson streets by car, so they went by canoe. Paddling through the streets, he and his children came across floating debris – clumps of leaves and someone’s doormat.
“It’s going to be financially crushing to a lot of people,” Green said.
Stamps isn't sure she'll stay: Whether her home floods or not, it's stressful.
"Do you see these bags (under my eyes)?" Stamps said half-jokingly to her friend, who arrived with several others to provide moral support. "Do you see I have not slept for days?"
The friend, Pamela Hedrick, tried to keep the mood upbeat. She sat in Stamps' driveway in a folding chair, cracking jokes, smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer. Then she turned serious.
"Everyone is just walking around with a dreadful look on their face," Hedrick said.
Follow Luke Ramseth on Twitter: @lramseth
This article originally appeared on The Clarion-Ledger: Jackson, Mississippi, flooding: Residents worry about homes, finances