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Mississippi, Ohio Rivers Still Rising; Cairo Evacuated

Posted by feww on May 1, 2011

Army Corps of Engineers on standby to blow a hole in Birds Point levee in Missouri

A “sand boil,” an area of excessive water seepage pushing through the ground, has become dangerously large, as the Corps closely monitors rising river levels, expected to crest, surpassing the 60 feet mark by Tuesday.

“That’s not just putting pressure here in Cairo, but the entire system is being put under pressure,” Corps commander said. “This is going to be the biggest amount of stress that these levees have been put under since we started the construction in 1928.”

Blowing up the levee would flood at least 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland, causing severe damage. On the other hand, towns in Illinois and Kentucky could be flooded if the levee were not blown up.

Both the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers have been rising following days of rain which have added to the water levels from the considerably-heavier-than-usual ongoing spring flooding. The city of Cairo (population: 2,800) sits at the confluence of two rivers.

Small city of Cairo (at center of this astronaut photo) sits at the confluence of Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. “Flooding of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers presents a continual danger to the city; this danger is lessened by the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway that begins directly to the south of the river confluence. During major flood events, the floodway lessens flood stages upstream (such as at Cairo) and adjacent to the floodway. Part of the extensive levee system associated with flood control of the Mississippi River is visible in the image. Barlow Bottoms (image right), located in adjacent Kentucky, is a wetland bird-watching location that is replenished by periodic floods and releases of Ohio River water.” Astronaut photograph ISS012-E-15035 was acquired January 12, 2006. Source: NASA-EO.  Download large image (583 KB, JPEG) 

Current Warnings/ Watches

Flooding along Ohio and Mississippi Rivers

Flood conditions along Wabash, Ohio, Black, and Mississippi Rivers are much worse in April 2011 than a year earlier. MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite took these false-color images on April 28, 2011 (top), and April 29, 2010 (bottom). Source: NASA-EO

U-S Flood Map

As of posting, 51 river gauges are reporting major flooding, 80 gauges moderate flooding, 125 gauges minor flooding, and 202 are at near flood stage, as shown in the AHPS map above. Floods are wreaking havoc in the U.S. Midwest, South and the Northeast.

Related Links

2 Responses to “Mississippi, Ohio Rivers Still Rising; Cairo Evacuated”

  1. Linda said

    [Thank you for comment. Have amended the caption, as requested. Moderator]

  2. feww said

    Corps to blow Birds Point levee tonight
    The floodway will divert 550,000 cubic feet per second from the Mississippi River and provide an estimated four to seven feet of river stage lowering in the vicinity of Cairo, Ill.

    Photos show overtopping of frontline levee near Mississippi County airport

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