Stories tagged Corps of Engineers

Sometime tonight the US Army Corps of Engineers will blow up a levee at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

All that rain that fell in April has both rivers swollen WAY past flood stage. (Water levels outside Cairo, Illinois, were at 61.4' this afternoon; "flood stage" begins at 40'.)

Major General Michael Walsh, head of the Mississippi River Commission,

"...ordered the intentional breach to alleviate pressure in the river system and to protect Cairo, even though it may lead to the flooding of 130,000 acres of mostly farmland in Missouri."

More later.

Later this afternoon, the US Army Corps of Engineers is going to lower the water level of the river by two feet in the area of the bridge collapse.

After the initial investigation is done, the Corps will open the roller gates at the Ford dam (i.e. Lock&Dam #1), dropping the level of the pool and giving emergency workers and investigators better access to the wreckage.

The silver lining of our recent drought is that the Mississippi is flowing at only 15% of normal. That means the river is shallower than it would otherwise be, and the debris in the channel isn't creating a massive dam.