Army Corps blows up levee to help fight unprecedented Mississippi River flood

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:47 PM GMT on May 03, 2011

Share this Blog
5
+

A brilliant string of explosions rippled across a two-mile length of the Mississippi River levee at Birds Point, Missouri at 10pm last night. As the levee disintegrated, a massive cascade of muddy brown water from the Father of Waters gushed into the crevasse, thundering with the flow of eight Niagara Falls. The waters quickly spread out over 133,000 acres of rich farmland, rushing southwards along the 35-mile long Birds Point-New Madrid Spillway. The levee that was destroyed--called a plug fuse levee--was designed to be destroyed in the event of a record flood. In a marathon 20-hour operation, 150 engineers from the Army Corps of Engineers packed 22 wells in the levee with explosives on Sunday and Monday. A raging thunderstorm with dangerous lightning halted the work for a time on Sunday night, as the engineers were pulled off the levee due to concerns about lightning. Final approval for the demolition occurred after a series of failed court challenges, brought by the Attorney General of Missouri, ended at the Supreme Court on Monday. Damage to the farmland and structures along the the Birds Point-New Madrid Spillway is estimated to cost $317 million due to the intentional breach of the levee. The fact that the Army Corps is intentionally causing 1/3 of billion dollars in damage is stark evidence of just how serious this flood is. The Birds Point levee has been demolished only once before, during the historic 1937 flood.


Figure 1. Still frame from an Army Corps of Engineers video of last night's demolition of the Birds Point levee on the Mississippi River.


Figure 2. The gauge on the Ohio River at Cairo was at record highs over the past few days, but the river level is now falling, thanks to the demolition of the Birds Point levee.

Unprecedented flooding on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
Snow melt from this winter's record snow pack across the Upper Mississippi River has formed a pulse of flood waters that is moving downstream on the Mississippi. This pulse of flood waters passed St. Louis on Saturday, where the river is now falling. The snow melt pulse arrived on Monday at Thebes, Illinois, about 20 miles upstream from the Mississippi/Ohio River junction at Cairo. The Mississippi River crested yesterday at Thebes at 45.52', which beats 1993 as the 2nd highest Mississippi River flood of all-time at Thebes. This floodwater pulse is headed south to Cairo, Illinois, and will join with the record water flow coming out of the Ohio River to create the highest flood heights ever recorded on a long stretch of the Mississippi, according to the latest forecasts from the National Weather Service. Along a 400-mile stretch of the Mississippi, from Cairo to Natchez, Mississippi the Mississippi is expected to experience the highest flood heights since records began over a century ago at 5 of the 10 gauges on the river. Areas that are not protected by levees can expect extensive damage from the flooding, but the mainline levees on the Lower Mississippi are high enough so that the flood waters are predicted to stay at least 3 feet below the tops of the levees.

The Mississippi River at New Madrid, MO, about 40 miles downstream of the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, crested at 46.54' this morning, the 2nd highest flood in history. The river is now falling, thanks to the blowing of the Birds Point levee. Rains of up to ten inches over the past three days in the region have now ended, but this water will enter the river system over the next few days, increasing heights on the river once again. The Mississippi is predicted to rise to 50 feet late this week, two feet above the all-time record height of 48 feet. The NWS warns that at this height, "Large amounts of property damage can be expected. Evacuation of many homes and businesses becomes necessary." Previous record heights at this location:

(1) 48.00 ft on 02/03/1937
(2) 46+ ft on 05/03/2011
(2) 44.60 ft on 04/09/1913
(3) 43.60 ft on 04/04/1975
(4) 43.50 ft on 02/16/1950
(5) 42.94 ft on 03/17/1997


Figure 3. Radar-estimated rainfall near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers totaled 4 - 10 inches over a wide area during the past three days.


Figure 3. Flooding on the Mississippi in Missouri at the end of April. Image credit: USACE.

The "Project Flood"
The levees on the Lower Mississippi River are meant to withstand a "Project Flood"--the type of flood the Army Corps of Engineers believes is the maximum flood that could occur on the river, equivalent to a 1-in-500 year flood. The Project Flood was conceived in the wake of the greatest natural disaster in American history, the great 1927 Mississippi River flood. Since the great 1927 flood, there has never been a Project Flood on the Lower Mississippi, downstream from the confluence with the Ohio River (there was a 500-year flood on the Upper Mississippi in 1993, though.) On Sunday, Major General Michael Walsh of the Army Corps of Engineers, President of the Mississippi Valley Commission, the organization entrusted to make flood control decisions on the Mississippi, stated: "The Project Flood is upon us. This is the flood that engineers envisioned following the 1927 flood. It is testing the system like never before."

At Cairo, the project flood is estimated at 2.36 million cubic feet per second (cfs). The current prediction for the flow rate at New Madrid, the Mississippi River gauge just downstream from Cairo, is 1.89 million cfs on May 7, so this flood is not expected to be a 1-in-500 year Project Flood. In theory, the levee system is designed to withstand this flood. But the Army Corps is in for the flood fight of its life, and it will be a long a difficult few weeks. Here's how Major General Michael Walsh of the Army Corps of Engineers described his decision yesterday to blow up the Birds Point levee:

"Everyone I have talked with--from boat operators, to labors, scientist and engineers, and truck drivers have all said the same thing--I never thought I would see the day that the river would reach these levels.

We have exceeded the record stage already at Cairo. We are on a course to break records at many points as the crest moves through the system. Sometimes people celebrate with "records"--but not this time. Making this decision is not easy or hard--it's simply grave-- because the decision leads to loss of property and livelihood--either in a floodway--or in an area that was not designed to flood. The state of Missouri has done a superb job of helping people escape the ravages of water in the floodway. But other places--not designed to flood have had no warning if their areas succumb to the pressures of this historic chocolate tide.

I spent last night on the river...lashed to an anchor barge in the current near the top of the floodway. The rains continued to pound the deck of the Motor Vessel. The cold winds moved us around--and the current and water levels kept increasing as the rain storms continue to grow over the Ar/Miss/Ohio/TN Watershed.

So, with the tool that has withstood many tests: the test of operation in 1937; decades of challenges that resulted in the 1986 Operation Plan; reviews and numerous unsuccessful court challenges--I have to use this tool. I have to activate this floodway to help capture a significant percentage of the flow.

I don't have to like it but we must use everything we have in our possession, in the system to prevent a more catastrophic event. So, today, I give the order to operate the Floodway."



Jeff Masters

Wappapello Spillway (KittenGotClaws)
Water going over the emergency spillway. A temp berm was built hoping to hold back the water but the extra rains we got pushed it over the edge.
Wappapello Spillway

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 200 - 150

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9Blog Index

Quoting atmoaggie:
Clearly, those are not true color images. The Mississippi, even up there and especially after all of the rainfall, is nothing close to blue water. Basically looks like very runny mud.

(Re: Pics such as this one.)
Agreed - Sorry didn't intend to convey that. I grew up in Hannibal, MO and the water there is dirty enough that I never once considered jumping in it!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:
Yep. Would be nice if the river water wasn't carrying so much fertilizer, now, though. Algal blooms, nutrient depletion, and then anoxia coming to the Lake, hopefully not too severe. (But going to happen...the scale of which is unknown, I think.)

A presentation on the subject by hydrodynamic modelers at UNO (and some good people I've had the privilege to work with): http://www.lacpra.org/assets/docs/Georgiou_Modeli ng_BC_BTR_June_2008.ppt

They need to dump a zillion water hyacinthes and azola weed in that lake. Today.
The plus in that is, you will see an up-tick in the local economy when they have to clear it all out again (the weeds I mean).

What goes round comes round.

Always. (to quote Pat)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Here's one to ponder,,who expects a East Pac Storm to form First..since the Season there starts May 15,,or do you Expect the Atlantic Basin to spit one out before June 1?

Im gonna go with the Atlantic,,

I am with you on that too.
I see more pro's than con's in the Atl right now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
What many dont understand about the Miss River,,here at least,,is that the River annually flooded into Lake P for eons before it was Levied in the Last 2 centuries..


What folly man creates,,nature usually ignores in due time,

Always

Yep. Would be nice if the river water wasn't carrying so much fertilizer, now, though. Algal blooms, nutrient depletion, and then anoxia coming to the Lake, hopefully not too severe. (But going to happen...the scale of which is unknown, I think.)

A presentation on the subject by hydrodynamic modelers at UNO (and some good people I've had the privilege to work with): http://www.lacpra.org/assets/docs/Georgiou_Modeli ng_BC_BTR_June_2008.ppt
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Did you remember your tinfoil hat?

it was all I could find....
seems like everything else is in the wash.
(viewer discretion is advised)

NICE post at 192.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here's one to ponder,,who expects a East Pac Storm to form First..since the Season there starts May 15,,or do you Expect the Atlantic Basin to spit one out before June 1?

Im gonna go with the Atlantic,,
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128609
What many dont understand about the Miss River,,here at least,,is that the River annually flooded into Lake P for eons before it was Levied in the Last 2 centuries..


What folly man creates,,nature usually ignores in due time,

Always

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128609
Quoting pottery:

Just had to run upstairs and put some clothes on....
Did you remember your tinfoil hat?
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting jeffs713:
Well... I was trying to interject some of the other side of the debate, and (gently) got torn apart. That was fun.


If I am the party guilty of the "tearing apart" please accept my apologies.

As I read back I may have personalized a reaction on my part of the generally dismissive tone on the blog regarding the consequences of opening the floodway.

You raise good points. I was, for a time, a member of a river protection group (Friends of the South River - a branch of the South Fork of the Shenandoah) so I am well aware of the folly of turning our rivers into drainage ditches and the fact that much of our farm land is stolen wetland. However, particularly in the case of the Mighty Mississip, that cat escaped the bag years ago and had generations of kittens so herding them all back in the sack is a moot point.

Surely there was no choice but to open the floodway, but as was so well said, it is a "grave choice". Were it not for the larger potential for loss of life I might debate which is more easily replaced buildings or top soil and whether we have properly assigned value to our nations resources, but that is a moot point as well.

It is unfortunate but the legal maneuverings were built into the system years ago. The losses we are potentially avoiding as a nation greatly out way the losses in the flood-way but the compensation provided will be far from enough to make the folks there "whole" as anyone who has been through one of these events will attest.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Muddy Mississippi water meet fairly clear brackish Pontchartrain water. This is what happens when the Bonnet Carre spillway is opened.
(Pic from ISS in 2008)


(click for bigger version)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kwgirl:
Is that a cross between a chicken and an iguana?

LOL Close!
The Chaguanas were a tribe of Amerindians that hung out around here.
Before "we" got here, obviously.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aquak9:
post 169- one of the best, simplest posts I've read on the subject. Straight-forward and to-the-point. Thanks for putting into words, jeffs, what's all been jumbled in my head.


Thank you, and you're welcome! :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Matt Zager, right, a civil engineer for the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Allen Giger, a surveyor or the US Army Corps of Engineers, check on a small levee breach in Maquoketa on Monday morning, July 26, 2010. The breach is what they call a boil and they said it wasn't a big concern but something they will keep an eye on. (Justin Hayworth/The Register)
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128609
Quoting beell:
174. aquak9 3:41 PM GMT on May 04, 2011

Beell- I never thought of the differences in where the water might be coming from, from a water boil. Seems as if there's one water boil, there's probably fifteen more of them close by, that haven't made it to the surface. Kinda like roaches.

And how far might that water have traveled before reaching the surface? Lots of unanswered questions, and my Book of Armageddon is only filled with blank pages.


As nrt would say, that is above my pay grade. But it appears the water table sand boils/seeps can occur quite some distance from the river. I would guess the ones adjacent to the levees would be of greatest concern.


Right, typically water pumps take care of those that boil up far inland from the levees. And yes, the boils on the levees themselves are of greatest concern and probably the cause a many levee failures - would be interestng to see a % of levees failures from overtopping vs. boils leading a breach.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
185. beell
174. aquak9 3:41 PM GMT on May 04, 2011

Beell- I never thought of the differences in where the water might be coming from, from a water boil. Seems as if there's one water boil, there's probably fifteen more of them close by, that haven't made it to the surface. Kinda like roaches.

And how far might that water have traveled before reaching the surface? Lots of unanswered questions, and my Book of Armageddon is only filled with blank pages.


As nrt would say, that is above my pay grade. But it appears the water table sand boils/seeps can occur quite some distance from the river. I would guess the ones adjacent to the levees would be of greatest concern.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16713
..."Sometimes the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of a few, or the one"..

Spock
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128609
Quoting jeffs713:
Well... I was trying to interject some of the other side of the debate, and (gently) got torn apart. That was fun.

Please allow me to clarify a few points:
1. Opening of the New Madrid Spillway was the right thing to do.
2. The losses from the spillway being opened will be significant.
3. The political and legal wrangling that went on is a travesty, and rather hyped beyond reality.
4. The residents of the spillway, while I feel for them, KNEW this was a possibility. Its a case of "this can't happen to me".
5. The COE's management of the Mississippi River is only marginally effective, and is contributing to the flooding just as much as it is preventing. What they've done is hook up a garden hose to a fire hydrant, and the hydrant just got cranked wide open.
6. Fixing the mess caused by trying to control Mother Nature is going to cost more than the controls themselves. (the ideal way to fix it, ignoring cost, is to make development in the natural floodplain "at your own risk", only protecting cities with limited levees, and leaving farmland within the 500-year floodplain to flooding, like nature intended.

I know the economic significance of allowing 500-year floodplains to be flooded without controls, but allowing a river to flood naturally will drastically reduce cities from being flooded, farmland being scoured, and the wholesale loss of human life.


Good post and I agree. It's just one of those things that no matter what, some will have to sacrifice for the benefit of others in greater numbers.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers is normally ~279feet above sea-level at FortDefiance. A small bit north, Cairo (~315feet above sea-level) was very close to becoming flooded.

The MississippiRiver was already starting to overspill across the "4story" levee section at BirdsPoint (nearly due south of Cairo). Knock out 2miles of that barrier, and "4 stories of water" begin scouring across the NewMadrid floodway.
Yeah the height of the pseudo"tsunami" decreases with distance (due to spreading sideways and forward across the farmland) from the new opening, but the initial surge was still huge, still gouged and carried away large amounts of the soil beneath.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:


Chaguanas!
Is that a cross between a chicken and an iguana?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:
Once the river at BR hits 35 feet, it is above the level of the surrounding land, in places. If it really goes to 45+ feet, there, that's 10 feet of water pressure that will find every tiny path through the earthen levees. Hopefully not very many nor very large, but some sand boils will happen.


I lived in a subdivsion below the levee at River Road and Brightside Dr in BR. In '08 when the River hit 44 feet, we had quite a bit of water bubbling up from the ground. I don't remember if it was clear or muddy, but I do remember it STUNK to high heaven after a few days. (Imagine a covering of stagnant water...)

A few houses in my area had a bit (0.5") of flooding if the water came up through the slab. My subdivision didn't have that, though some people had a really soggy yard or standing water on the driveway.
Member Since: September 3, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 527
Quoting aquak9:
hahaha, thank you keysie. Please call me aqua.

I can swim...well I can dog-paddle. Thought oughtta be good enough!

You got it! Water dogs will have no trouble surviving!

Ice melt, waters rising, rivers flooding, bigger storms...oh boy!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ILwthrfan:
Gas prices up to $4.21(unleaded), $4.31(leaded), and $4.41(premium) here in Central Illinois. You should see the crippling effect that is beggining take effect on the local economy. We've had several businesses starting to close up around here. NOT GOOD!




Same prices here in Jupiter, it's insane. I spent $100 bucks on gas in both cars this past weekend alone. $20 bucks doesn't even get me a quarter of a tank anymore.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
hahaha, thank you keysie. Please call me aqua.

I can swim...well I can dog-paddle. Thought oughtta be good enough!
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26034



Learn about the history, purpose and many recreational opportunities offered by the Bonnet Carre Spillway, located between Montz and Norco in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, just 30 minutes outside of the city of New Orleans.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128609
Quoting aquak9:
post 169- one of the best, simplest posts I've read on the subject. Straight-forward and to-the-point. Thanks for putting into words, jeffs, what's all been jumbled in my head.

Beell- I never thought of the differences in where the water might be coming from, from a water boil. Seems as if there's one water boil, there's probably fifteen more of them close by, that haven't made it to the surface. Kinda like roaches.

And how far might that water have traveled before reaching the surface? Lots of unanswered questions, and my Book of Armageddon is only filled with blank pages.


a9, you only need one page, with one line:

"Learn To Swim"

=)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
post 169- one of the best, simplest posts I've read on the subject. Straight-forward and to-the-point. Thanks for putting into words, jeffs, what's all been jumbled in my head.

Beell- I never thought of the differences in where the water might be coming from, from a water boil. Seems as if there's one water boil, there's probably fifteen more of them close by, that haven't made it to the surface. Kinda like roaches.

And how far might that water have traveled before reaching the surface? Lots of unanswered questions, and my Book of Armageddon is only filled with blank pages.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26034
Quoting aspectre:

Discussions are underway to keep the 100tonne sightseeing catamaran Hamayuri, which landed on the roof of an inn after being swept inland 400metres, in place as a memorial of the GreatTohokuEarthquake disaster.

A refreshing change from Germany, which decided to pretend that "WWII never happened" after the Fall of the BerlinWall.


While that is interesting I don't agree with it being "refreshing" vs. what happened in Germany. Totally different circumstances.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
172. beell
Quoting atmoaggie:
If they really open Morganza, I might have to go see the Atchafalaya up close. If you are familiar with the I-10 rest area in the swamp, you can go north from there on a dirt road. That dirt road is the west levee of the Atchafalaya. If wet, 4-wheel drive recommended. Should be interesting (provided that doing so isn't detrimental to the levee and, thus, not closed.)


That would have to be a must-see, atmo. Only used once, in 1973. This was right before I moved to Morgan City.

Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16713
Pottery, we now have visual on you. Your location is now being tracked and big brother is watching you from in the sky!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting beell:


It is, aqua. Hydrostatic pressure pushes the water up through the ground. I have heard that they watch the water coming up out of the boil. If it is clear, the water source is from the "water table". Not a good thing but better then the alternative:

If it starts to turn muddy, it is coming from the river and the levee is being scoured away from underneath.

Time to haul azz when that happens...

.
Once the river at BR hits 35 feet, it is above the level of the surrounding land, in places. If it really goes to 45+ feet, there, that's 10 feet of water pressure that will find every tiny path through the earthen levees. Hopefully not very many nor very large, but some sand boils will happen.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Well... I was trying to interject some of the other side of the debate, and (gently) got torn apart. That was fun.

Please allow me to clarify a few points:
1. Opening of the New Madrid Spillway was the right thing to do.
2. The losses from the spillway being opened will be significant.
3. The political and legal wrangling that went on is a travesty, and rather hyped beyond reality.
4. The residents of the spillway, while I feel for them, KNEW this was a possibility. Its a case of "this can't happen to me".
5. The COE's management of the Mississippi River is only marginally effective, and is contributing to the flooding just as much as it is preventing. What they've done is hook up a garden hose to a fire hydrant, and the hydrant just got cranked wide open.
6. Fixing the mess caused by trying to control Mother Nature is going to cost more than the controls themselves. (the ideal way to fix it, ignoring cost, is to make development in the natural floodplain "at your own risk", only protecting cities with limited levees, and leaving farmland within the 500-year floodplain to flooding, like nature intended.

I know the economic significance of allowing 500-year floodplains to be flooded without controls, but allowing a river to flood naturally will drastically reduce cities from being flooded, farmland being scoured, and the wholesale loss of human life.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Discussions are underway to keep the 100tonne sightseeing catamaran Hamayuri, that landed on the roof of an inn after being swept inland 400metres, in place as a memorial of the GreatTohokuEarthquake disaster.

A refreshing change from Germany, which decided to pretend that "WWII never happened" after the Fall of the BerlinWall.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
167. beell
Quoting aquak9:
from beell's second link:

Meanwhile, thousands of sandbags and other supplies are being prepared. The sandbags will be delivered to areas that could see sand boils, where water pushes under the levee and floods the land on the other side, by Friday.

That's scary.


It is, aqua. Hydrostatic pressure pushes the water up through the ground. I have heard that they watch the water coming up out of the boil. If it is clear, the water source is from the "water table". Not a good thing but better then the alternative:

If it starts to turn muddy, it is coming from the river and the levee is being scoured away from underneath.

Time to haul azz when that happens...

.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16713
Quoting beell:
Jindal: Morganza Spillway not expected to be used. May 2, 2011/wbrz.com

Jindal: News about river has gotten worse. May 3, 2011/wbrz.com

...Jindal said the Bonnet Carre spillway could be opened as early as Monday, and said opening the Morganza spillway was now "on the table"...
If they really open Morganza, I might have to go see the Atchafalaya up close. If you are familiar with the I-10 rest area in the swamp, you can go north from there on a dirt road. That dirt road is the west levee of the Atchafalaya. If wet, 4-wheel drive recommended. Should be interesting (provided that doing so isn't detrimental to the levee and, thus, not closed.)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
from beell's second link:

Meanwhile, thousands of sandbags and other supplies are being prepared. The sandbags will be delivered to areas that could see sand boils, where water pushes under the levee and floods the land on the other side, by Friday.

That's scary.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26034
164. beell
Jindal: Morganza Spillway not expected to be used. May 2, 2011/wbrz.com

Jindal: News about river has gotten worse. May 3, 2011/wbrz.com

...Jindal said the Bonnet Carre spillway could be opened as early as Monday, and said opening the Morganza spillway was now "on the table"...
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 143 Comments: 16713
Quoting RitaEvac:


Chaguanas!

Not Bad!! You are getting close, LOL
Near Freeport (which is not near the sea, as you would think), in a small village called Chicklands. East and south of Chaguanas. East of Point Lisas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jeffs713:
It *is* really flat land, the scouring (if any) will mostly be from the speed of the water. While I am sure there is some significant force involved, this isn't a rushing rapids of water. More like a 2-3 mph flow (after the initial rush).

As for the "wave" of water, it DEFINITELY wasn't 4 stories high. 4 meters (in a tsunami-type of wave), possibly. 4 stories (roughly 45 feet), definitely not.

Yeah, I thought as much.
And the "4 stories high" thing came from Dr. M's blog above. I was taking the statement out of context intentionally. I realised that would have been a tidal wave of some magnitude..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jeffs713:
It *is* really flat land, the scouring (if any) will mostly be from the speed of the water. While I am sure there is some significant force involved, this isn't a rushing rapids of water. More like a 2-3 mph flow (after the initial rush).

As for the "wave" of water, it DEFINITELY wasn't 4 stories high. 4 meters (in a tsunami-type of wave), possibly. 4 stories (roughly 45 feet), definitely not.
If moving floodwater can sweep away a car imagine what it will do with dirt. If you plan on wading it go ahead but I don't want to watch.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting KeysieLife:

Adding to that thought: It never would have been fertile farmland in the first place if the river hadn't flooded it before!


well, yes...but back then, the river water was not full of decades of pollutants.

modified- I see that CyclonicVoyage already covered that point.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26034
Quoting ILwthrfan:
Gas prices up to $4.21(unleaded), $4.31(leaded), and $4.41(premium) here in Central Illinois. You should see the crippling effect that is beggining take effect on the local economy. We've had several businesses starting to close up around here. NOT GOOD!



Yea, I dont see the economy going anywhere ever.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LS1redline:


It is because the silt helps the land with gradual rises and falls. Releasing all of the water at once will scour the landscape, deposit rocks, sand and lord knows what else. The force of the water is amazing...when some of the levees broke in the upper Mississippi in '93, there were huge holes created over 10 feet deep in the fields.


That helps right? Natural retention/irrigation ponds! =)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jeffs713:
As pottery (and several others) have mentioned, I am finding it VERY hard to understand why authorities in MO are saying the "land is ruined" by the floodway, when the river's silt is responsible for it being so fertile. Yes, you may have to rebuild roads and farmhouses, but that land will be beyond rich for decades to come.


It is because the silt helps the land with gradual rises and falls. Releasing all of the water at once will scour the landscape, deposit rocks, sand and lord knows what else. The force of the water is amazing...when some of the levees broke in the upper Mississippi in '93, there were huge holes created over 10 feet deep in the fields.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Gas prices up to $4.21(unleaded), $4.31(leaded), and $4.41(premium) here in Central Illinois. You should see the crippling effect that is beggining take effect on the local economy. We've had several businesses starting to close up around here. NOT GOOD!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here are two worthwhile links from a woman who knows her stuff - some good photos, too.

New Madrid Floodway - The Landscape


New Madrid Floodway & the Confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

Crown Point airport is on Tobago.
(Trinidad&Tobago is a twin-island Nation)
I am in Trinidad, 8 miles south west of Piarco airport.


Chaguanas!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
FYI: it was four years ago today that an EF5 destroyed the town of Greenburg, Kansas. This was the first EF5 ever under the Enhanced Fujita scale, as well as the first tornado of such strength in the 21st century.

As an interesting coincidence, there have only been a total of four EF5s, including two last week. Of those four, three have ruined--and are thus named after--towns ending in "burg": Greensburg, KS; Parkersburg, IA; and Hackleburg, AL.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13548
Quoting RastaSteve:


That cold? WOW! Man it's been hot as all get out for a long time here IKE. I wish we could get a night like that but that won't happen until November or December here in the Orlando area. I was at The Trade Winds Sandpiper in ST.Pete Beach this past weekend and the gulf temps were 83 degrees which is amazing as it was late April at the time and down the coast in Fort Myers the SST's are at 87. Now that's bath water if you ask me.
I live on siesta key here in sarasota,went for a swim yesterday and the water is perfect,about 3 or 4 degrees above normal for this time.of year i believe
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

Good points.
I am not familiar with the Geography of the place, and assumed it was relatively flat land where scouring would not be an issue.
Although a wave of water (4 stories high ????) would move more than just topsoil, for sure.

Bad stuff anyway we take it...
It *is* really flat land, the scouring (if any) will mostly be from the speed of the water. While I am sure there is some significant force involved, this isn't a rushing rapids of water. More like a 2-3 mph flow (after the initial rush).

As for the "wave" of water, it DEFINITELY wasn't 4 stories high. 4 meters (in a tsunami-type of wave), possibly. 4 stories (roughly 45 feet), definitely not.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:

After cleaning up after several floods and having extended family in farming, I suspect what they are concerned about is that it is highly likely that a lot of good topsoil will be scoured off and deposited in the Gulf of Mexico. The good soil was deposited a long time ago when the land was covered with trees and the over flow, settling effect was spread over the whole flood plane. What we will have here is going to be similar to the river cutting a new channel I am afraid.

Good points.
I am not familiar with the Geography of the place, and assumed it was relatively flat land where scouring would not be an issue.
Although a wave of water (4 stories high ????) would move more than just topsoil, for sure.

Bad stuff anyway we take it...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 200 - 150

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.