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Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi River Flooding’

U.S. corn production may fall on flooding, heat, drought

Posted by feww on June 28, 2011

Severe flooding in the Mississippi and Missouri river basins have damaged 2.5 million acres of U.S. farmland: Report

Flooding in the Midwest and Northern Plains may lead to a fall in corn production in 2011, according to the CEO of Cargill, the world’s largest commodities trader.

“Clearly, we have lost acres with the flooding,” Greg Page, chief executive of Cargill Inc., told journalist during a visit to Kiev, the Ukraine capital. “Certainly our company is fighting the floods on the Missouri River.

“You could certainly be talking about 300m-400m bushels [lost,]”  Page said.

“The price of corn shot to a record high this month amid surging demand from emerging markets and rising consumption of the grain by the ethanol industry. US corn inventories are set to fall to their lowest since the mid-1990s, according to the US Department of Agriculture.” Said a report.

Added to the problem of flooding in key corn-growing states like Ohio and Indiana, is the worsening drought and soaring temperatures in the southern United States.

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Mississippi River Flooding – Recent Images

Posted by feww on May 21, 2011

Mississippi River ‘Unsafe’ to Navigate

U.S. Coast Guard shut down a 5-mile stretch of the river (from mile marker 232 to 237) after at least five vessels got out of control with three of the barges carrying corn (and wheat) sinking and the other two, carrying sulfuric acid and other chemicals, taking on water.

Earlier in the week, the area was closed for hours after 25 barges under tow broke loose, and five hit US 190, the old Mississippi River Bridge, reports said.

Mississippi River: Current High Water Flows [May 20, 2011 @ 07:00 CDT]


Source: Army Corps of Engineers. Click image to enlarge.

Morganza Floodway Day 5 of Flow


Floodwater spread  about 20 miles (32km) across the Louisiana five days after the Army Engineers opened 17 floodgates  on Morganza Spillway. About 114,000 cubic feet per second (3,200 m³s-1) per second was flowing out of the Mississippi River through the floodway on May 18 when
ASTER on NASA’s Terra satellite took this false-color image. Source: NASA-EO. Click image to enlarge.   Download largest  image (4 MB, JPEG) 

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Vicksburg, Mississippi Faces Flood Invasion

Posted by feww on May 17, 2011

Water level at Vicksburg 5 inches above the 1927 record of 56.2 feet

The river in Vicksburg is forecast to crest at 57.5 feet, 14.5 feet above flood level,  by Thursday.

About 2.3 million acres of land have already been  inundated in central Mississippi, according to FIRE-EARTH estimates, which are based on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data.


An aerial view of the Vicksburg Harbor, which is located on an arm of the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA. The harbor is located north of the main part of the city. View is to the west-northwest. Date: 20 April 1999. Source:  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Siege of a different kind

Vicksburg (pop: 26,410) was the scene of a 47-day Union army siege in 1863 when Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s Union army finally forced its surrender on July 4.

In 1894, Coca-Cola was first bottled in Vicksburg by a local confectioner, Joseph Biedenharn.

Thousands of Mississippi and Louisiana residents have already evacuated, and thousands more will evacuate, as a silent tsunami on moves south through Mississippi and Louisiana.

Upstream, the swollen Mississippi River has already inundated hundreds of homes and millions of acres of farmland across 5 states: (Southern) Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas.

Morganza Floodway Opens – Satellite Image


On May 14, 2011, the U.S. Army Engineers opened the Morganza Floodway to relieve the pressure  along the Mississippi River in Louisiana. A day later, at 11:20 am CDT, ALI on NASA’s EO-1 satellite captured this photo-like  image of the Floodway. Source: NASA-EO. Click Image to enlarge.
Download largest image (4 MB, JPEG) 


This aerial photo was taken by the Army Engineers on May 14, shortly after water was released through the floodgates of Morganza Spillway. Source: NASA-EO


Aerial photo was taken by the Army Engineers on May 14, several hours after water was released through the floodgates of Morganza Spillway. Source: The Army Engineers.

Key Details (from previous posts)

  • Army Engineers Quote of the Day: “It’s a historic day, not only for the entire Mississippi River, but for the state of Louisiana.” ~ Corps spokesman Col Ed Fleming.
  • The Mississippi and its tributaries have extensively flooded large areas upstream
  • At least 3 million acres of cropland in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas have already been inundated as the tsunami of floodwaters on the Mississippi raged south.
  • The Morganza Spillway is located 45 miles NW Baton Rouge.
  • Morganza Floodway was Built in 1954 to relieve flood pressure on Mississippi River
  • The giant structure is 20 miles long, with 125 gates which could release up to 600,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfps) or 17,000,000 liters/sec
  • A single gate releases about 10,000 cfpc
  • Raging Mississippi River forced Morganza floodgate to be opened for the first time since 1973.
  • About 25,000 people and more than 10,000 buildings may be affected by intentional flooding.
  • About 3,000 sq miles of low-lying swamp and cropland are expected to be submerged under up to 20 ft of floodwater for several weeks
  • Army Engineers say if the spillway was not opened, New Orleans could be inundated by 20ft of floodwater.
  • Morganza was the third of the Mississippi River floodways to be opened this month (the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway and the Bonnet Carre Spillway were opened earlier in May.)
  • “Today’s the first day in the history of our nation that we have had three floodways open.” Col Fleming said.
  • Today’s the first major alarm day in our history that we were forced to have three floodways opened simultaneously: FIRE-EARTH
  • Louisiana’s Cajun country is expected to be inundated by up to 20ft as  floodwater moves south.
  • A video of the opening of the Morganza Floodway is posted online here.

Morganza Floodway Travel Times


Click image to enlarge. Click HERE to view the original size. Source: The Army Corps of Engineers. [Note:  The image is dated May 12, 2011. The travel times should be adjusted accordingly]

Potential Inundation Map (Scenario 1a)


Click image to enlarge. Click HERE to view the original size. Source: The Army Corps of Engineers. [See inset for details.]

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Louisiana Braces as Morganza Floodway Opens

Posted by feww on May 15, 2011

Mississippi River Genie Out of  Spillway?

Floodwater rising upstream in Vicksburg neighborhoods at 2 ft per hr

Army Engineers opened one of the 125 floodgates at the Morganza Spillway 45 miles NW of Baton Rouge on Saturday, inundating nearby fields.

About 3,000 sq miles of low-lying swamp and cropland are expected to be submerged under up to 20 ft of floodwater released through the spillway.


Morganza Floodway moments after one of its 125 floodgates were opened on Saturday. Frame grab from an official (?) video.

Mississippi River Floodways


Source: Mississippi River Commission Map

Key Details:

  • Army Engineers Quote of the Day: “It’s a historic day, not only for the entire Mississippi River, but for the state of Louisiana.” ~ Corps spokesman Col Ed Fleming.
  • The Mississippi and its tributaries have extensively flooded large areas upstream
  • At least 3 million acres of cropland in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas have already been inundated as the tsunami of floodwaters on the Mississippi raged south.
  • The Morganza Spillway is located 45 miles NW Baton Rouge.
  • Morganza Floodway was Built in 1954 to relieve flood pressure on Mississippi River
  • The giant structure is 20 miles long, with 125 gates which could release up to 600,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfps) or 17,000,000 liters/sec
  • A single gate releases about 10,000 cfpc
  • Raging Mississippi River forced Morganza floodgate to be opened for the first time since 1973.
  • About 25,000 people and more than 10,000 buildings may be affected by intentional flooding.
  • About 3,000 sq miles of low-lying swamp and cropland are expected to be submerged under up to 20 ft of floodwater for several weeks
  • Army Engineers say if the spillway was not opened, New Orleans could be inundated by 20ft of floodwater.
  • Morganza was the third of the Mississippi River floodways to be opened this month (the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway and the Bonnet Carre Spillway were opened earlier in May.)
  • “Today’s the first day in the history of our nation that we have had three floodways open.” Col Fleming said.
  • Today’s the first major alarm day in our history that we were forced to have three floodways opened simultaneously: FIRE-EARTH
  • Louisiana’s Cajun country is expected to be inundated by up to 20ft as  floodwater moves south.

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Mississippi River Flooding: Morganza Floodway to open Saturday

Posted by feww on May 14, 2011

From a source of life to … in 150 years

Engineers to open key floodway to avert flooding in Baton Rouge and New Orleans

Louisiana state officials have confirmed that the Army Engineers would open the Morganza Spillway by early Saturday evening (CDT), a report said.

The move is intended to avert flooding in Louisiana’s two largest cities, Baton Rouge and New Orleans; however, it could inundate  many thousands of homes and large tracts of crops.

Flooding in Atchafalaya basin is expected to exceed20 feet, affecting about 25,000 people, more than 10,000 buildings and up to 20,000 acres of cropland.

Mississippi River


The largest river in North America, the Mississippi River flows 2,340 mi (3,765 km) from its source at Lake Itasca in the Minnesota North Woods, through the midcontinental United States, the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Plain, and the Louisiana Delta. “’Mississippi’ is an Ojibwa (Chippewa) word meaning great river or gathering of waters—an appropriate name because the river basin, or watershed, extends from the Allegheny Mountains in the eastern United States to the Rocky Mountains, including all or parts of 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces. The river basin measures 1.85 million mi2 (4.76 million km2), covering about 40 percent of the United States and about one-eighth of North America.” Mississippi River has the world’s third largest watershed area and seventh average discharge rate. Source: USGS

Morganza Spillway – Satellite Images


Flooded Morganza Spillway.  May5, 1973. Click image to enlarge. Download largest image (2 MB, JPEG)

False color images using near-infrared, red, and green wavelengths. The top image taken by Landsat 1;  bottom image from Landsat 2.  Source: NASA-EO


Morganza Spillway area Sans flooding, 1977. Click image to enlarge. Download largest image (2 MB, JPEG)

Atchafalaya River is forecast to  crest at between 12 and 13 feet at Morgan City on May 23,  if the floodway is opened, breaking a previous record crest  10.6 feet, which was in 1973, a report said.

“They’ve still not officially made a decision on whether or when they will open the spillway, but the Corps of Engineers did tell me today that there are at 1.423 million cubic feet per second at Red River Landing and they are likely to get to 1.5 (million cubic feet) by [Saturday] evening and they will operate that system so that they will not allow that flow to exceed 1.5 through the Baton Rouge area,” Jindal said.

“The decision to open the Morganza Floodway relies on current and projected river flows and levee conditions, river currents and potential effects on navigation and revetments, extended rain and stage forecasts, and the duration of high river stages. When river flows at the Red River Landing are predicted to reach 1.5 million cubic feet per second and rising, the Corps considers opening the Morganza Floodway.” The Army Corps said.  The Army Engineers said the flow rates were 1.449 million cubic feet per second at 7:00am CDT on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Mississippi River Commission Map


Click images to enlarge.

Lower Mississippi Valley Division and  Mississippi River Commission Map

Mississippi River Floodways

 Morganza Floodway


Morganza floodway as a substitute for the East Atchafalaya floodway that was originally planned for in the 1928 Flood Control Act. Governed by a 3,900-foot long and a 125-bay intake structure, the floodway is designed to divert 600,000 cfs from the Mississippi River during the project design flood. The Morganza floodway is operated when the Mississippi River flows below Morganza are projected to exceed 1,500,000 cfs, thereby assuring that flows between Morganza and Bonnet Carré remain at or below 1,500,000 cfs. The Morganza floodway, completed in 1953, has only been operated during the 1973 flood. Source: The MR & T Flooways Project – Mississippi River Commission 1973 .

Estimated Cost of Damage: $5billion [FIRE-EARTH estimate, as of posting]

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Mississippi River breaks flood record at Natchez

Posted by feww on May 12, 2011

Mississippi River Tops 58.65 feet (17,88m) at Natchez

America’s largest river to crest at  64feet (19.51m) on May 21

Having broken the previous record of 58.04 ft set on February 21, 1937, America’s largest river is expected to crest at a whopping 64feet (19.51m; flow rate of 2,380kcfs ) on May 21.

Kcfs: Thousand cubic feet per second – multiply by 28,317 to get liters per second

Historical Crests
(1) 58.04 ft on 02/21/1937
(2) 57.03 ft on 04/24/2008
(3) 56.70 ft on 05/13/1973
(4) 56.60 ft on 05/04/1927
(5) 56.30 ft on 03/26/1997
(6) 55.70 ft on 05/31/1983
(7) 55.30 ft on 04/26/1922
(8) 55.20 ft on 04/29/1945
(9) 54.60 ft on 04/23/1979
(10) 54.50 ft on 06/05/1929


Map of Mississippi River Basin. Source: University of Missouri

The Mississippi River Flooding Impact

So far the flooding has :

  • Forced tens of thousands of people along the river and its tributaries to  evacuate
  • Inundated dozens of river towns
  • Swamped about 3.5 million acres of farmland (at least 3 million acres in three states of  Arkansas  Mississippi, Tennessee)
  • Put in need of shelter tens of thousands of farm animals
  • Threatens  New Orleans and Baton Rouge (Morganza Spillway in Louisiana may have to be opened to relive some of the pressure)
  • Threatens to swamp more than 3 million acres of farm and wetlands in Louisiana

The flooding has also shut down  16 casinos in  Mississippi  (a silver lining?) threatening to swamp another two in Vicksburg, according to Mississippi Gaming Commission, where the river is expected to crest at 57.5ft (flow rate: 2,340kcfs) on May 19.

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Mississippi River Flooding: Disaster in Slow Motion

Posted by feww on May 8, 2011

Tsunami of Floods Inching Toward GoM

Thousands in Six States Evacuating Mississippi River Flooding

Flooding in some areas has topped 80-year records AND rising

Thousands of people along the Mississippi River are evacuating their homes in at least six states as record floods inundate many areas.


US Rivers  Flood Map



Major Flooding

Moderate Flooding

Minor Flooding


River Gauges  at Near Flood Stage

Hazards Warning Map


Click image to enter NWS portal.

SEE ALSO:

Flooded Mississippi “wrapping arms” around Memphis


Flood waters inundate parking lot near Memphis, Tennessee. Frame grab from Reuters news clip. See link below.

“It’s a pretty day here, and people get a false sense of security,” the public affairs officer for the Shelby County Office of Preparedness was reported as saying. “The mighty Mississippi is starting to wrap its arms around us here in Memphis.”

From 2011 Disaster Calendar – May

  • Day 493 [May 8, 2011]

    • Quebec, Canada. The worst flooding in Quebec in 150 years has destroyed or damaged at least 3,000 homes, leaving about 2,800 people homeless.
      • “People are getting around in canoes, rowboats and watercraft, with the water so high it has left some houses half-submerged.”
      • Lake Champlain has risen to a record 103.26 feet above sea level, the U.S. National Weather Service reported.  Flood stage is 100 feet!
    • Arkansas, USA.  Severe flooding in parts of Arkansas will have a “serious and long-term economic impact” on the state, Gov Beebe has said.
      •  “There’s going to be an agricultural impact … problem with aid or assistance on agricultural losses is that traditionally the … Department of Agriculture is a couple of years behind, time-wise, on those kinds of assessments, so you’ve got a tough period to go through for those farmers,” he said.
      • “Economically on agriculture it’s going to be very difficult, and devastating for some.”
    • Vermont, USA.  Hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged as a result of lake Lake Champlain flooding, a report said.
    • USA. Thousands of people living along the Mississippi River have evacuated their homes in at least six states as the rising river continues to top all  previous levels.

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