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Heavy rain, flash floods for Ohio, Mississippi valleys

Posted by feww on May 3, 2011

UPDATE: The first levee at Birds Point has been breached, just after 10 p.m.  

‘Heavy rains driving flash flooding and river flooding to record levels’: NWS

Torrential rain is forecast  for today in parts of 11 already soaking states:
  • Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.
Heavy rain is also forecast Tuesday and Wednesday in parts of 6 states:
  • Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

More than 4 inches of rain is forecast in SW Indiana, S. Illinois and W. Kentucky and about 5 inches in central Arkansas, NWS said.

Five-day precipitation forecast (NWS)

Click images to enlarge.

Weather Hazards Map (NWS)

Weather Forecast Map

Flash Flooding

“Flash Flooding is expected today in an eight-state swath from east-central Texas to southwestern Ohio. The area also includes southeastern Oklahoma, most of Arkansas, southeast Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana, southwest Ohio, western Tennessee, west-central and northern Kentucky. Rain and thundershowers are forecast from central Texas to the eastern and southern Great Lakes. Heavy snow is possible in north-central Washington and light to moderate snow is possible for south-central Wyoming, central Colorado and north-central New Mexico.” NWS said.

Flooding Rivers

Mississippi, Ohio Rivers Still Rising; Cairo Evacuated

The Army Corps of Engineers have reportedly completed the preparation stage and are ready to blow a hole in Birds Point levee in Missouri by 12:00pm local time.

This photo shows natural overtopping at the frontline levee on the Mississippi River on the Birds Point New Madrid Floodway.
(Photo: Southeast Missourian/reader submitted).

Once the levee is breached, water at a rate of about 550,000 cubic feet per second will divert from the Mississippi River, causing the water level in the river  near  Cairo to drop by up to seven feet, a report said.

The intentional breaching  of BP-NM floodway is expected to flood more than  130,000 acres and about 200 properties in Mississippi County, Missouri, “and will be devastating to farmers and agricultural businesses in and around the floodway. The floodway has not been placed in operation since the 1937 flood.”

Cairo, Ill. Satellite Image

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)

Blowing a 2-mile hole in the levee

The corps plans to blow a 2-mile hole at the southern end of the floodway to drain the water from the farmlands about 24 hours after the first round of detonations,  a report said. The detonations are set to began by midnight Monday.

Flood Zone. Frame grab from an abc news clip. Click image to enlarge.

“Public safety remains the No. 1 issue for the corps of engineers,” the Corps commander said.

“[The levee] continues to be under enormous and unprecedented pressure,” he added. “The Cairo gauge has gone up a foot and a half since yesterday. It’s going to continue to rise.”

“This doesn’t end this historic flood,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”

Missouri farmers on the flood plane are extremely anxious. They fear their lands would be destroyed by toxic sludge after the floodwaters have receded.

Related Links

UPDATED @ 03:31UTC, May 3, 2011

One Response to “Heavy rain, flash floods for Ohio, Mississippi valleys”

  1. tg said

    [The rising sea levels are the proverbial icing on the environmental cake, or the “muck pie” to be more precise. Moderator]

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