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Jindal: Get ready to get out of flood’s way

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Written by
Mary Foster and Michael Kunzelman
The Associated Press

 

 

BUTTE LAROSE — Ripples of fear rose Tuesday along the normally placid bayous of the Atchafalaya basin, the corridor through which a torrent of surging water could be unleashed if authorities decide in coming days to ease the strain on Mississippi River levees by opening the Morganza Spillway northwest of Baton Rouge.

On Tuesday, residents of Butte LaRosepacked up belongings to leave should the Morganza spillway be opened. Opening the spillway would pour floodwaters from the Mississippi into the Atchafalaya River for a 100-mile trek to the Gulf of Mexico. If the Army Corps of Engineeers decides to open the Morganza for the first time since the early 1970s, it would ease flood concerns in Baton rouge but flood a south Louisiana watershed dotted with fishing camps, rural homes and waters rich in fish, alligators and nutria.

The area was last flooded in 1973, when high water on the Mississippi River forced the Army Corps of Engineers to open Morganza, a spillway completed in 1954.

On Monday, the corps began opening another spillway to the south, Bonnet Carre, seeking to take the pressure off the levees protecting New Orleans.

Gov. Bobby Jindal said Tuesday that communities along the Morganza spillway should be alert and ready for evacuations if authorities decide to open the Morganza.

Jindal said he expects a decision from the Army Corps of Engineers soon. The spillway runs from the Mississippi northwest of Baton Rouge to the Atchafalaya Basin and into the Gulf near Morgan City.

Jindal said he’s asked the corps for notice of at least three days’ notice so residents can be evacuated. The governor said the latest projection was for an opening as early as Saturday if it comes.

Pam Vidros, a spokeswoman for the corps, said a decision is likely in the next couple of days.

Louisiana home and business owners without flood insurance are on their own against the river. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said flood coverage can still be purchased, but it won’t cover damage from rising water for 30 days.

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Written by demon53

May 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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