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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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