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Mississippi River rising fast

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Written by
Greg Hilburn

Near record crest expected

The Mississippi River in northern and central Louisiana is expected to swell above the 1973 and 2008 flood levels next month, swamping everything from farmland to camps on the unprotected side of the 5th Louisiana Levee District, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Robert Simrall said Monday.

Heavy rain in the Ohio Valley on Saturday and more on Monday is draining into the river and tributaries in the Ohio Valley and making its way south.

Simrall said the predicted crest at Vicksburg, Miss., is 53.5 feet on May 18, more than 10 feet above flood stage. The river reached 51.6 feet in Vicksburg in 1973 and 51 feet in Vicksburg in 2008.

Fifth Louisiana Levee District President Reynold Minsky said his organization “is going into emergency mode.”

The level at Vicksburg Monday was 39.2 feet.

“Everything behind the levee is going to be under water,” Minsky said. “We’re advising people to secure their camps and move anything of value out as soon as possible.”

Minksy contact the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development on Monday to request trucks to haul sand that will be bagged.

When the river reaches 43 feet at Vicksburg the 5th Louisiana Levee District will close the levee to all traffic. At 48 feet it will ask that all cattle and livestock be removed from the levee, which will be patrolled 24 hours per day.

If the river reaches 53.5 feet on May 18 as forecast, it would be the second highest level on record behind 56.2 feet in 1927.

But Simrall, chief of water control for the corps’ Vicksburg District, said even though the level could rise beyond the 1973 flood, problems won’t be as widespread because other rivers aren’t expected to be at flood stage.

“A lot of people here 1973 and are going to panic, but you have to remember that in 1973 the levels on the Ouachita River, the Tensas and the Red were extremely high,” he said. “That’s not the case now. This is concentrated on the Mississippi.”

John Stringer, executive director of the Tensas Basin Levee District, said the Ouachita remains near its 20.5-foot pool stage at 22.61 feet in Monroe. Flood stage for the Ouachita in Monroe is 40 feet.


Written by demon53

April 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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