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

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

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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

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warming up
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Kinda a neat sat pic...A lot of moisture over the Eastern Caribbean..Intense convection off of northern South America.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21040
Tornadoes Surveyed by WFOs is the latest confirmed number of tornadoes surveyed by the National Weather Service. When all storm surveys are complete this is the number that will go into the permanent record as the actual number.

Gosh, you think NOAA would know that and would have included that little bit in previous press releases before the media and others sources cited wildly inaccurate numbers over and over again.

All that aside, a new entry for the record books.



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Oh look! Rick Springfield blew a .10. Let's make fun of him on a weather blog. Wow!
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Quoting tkeith:
I posted this on BFOTR's blog yesterday. It's a brief history and overview of "Project Design Flood".

Link


Good Read Thanks Tkeith!!
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Quoting kwgirl:
HUH??? What does cock-a-roach in this instance mean? I don't think I have seen this usage. I imagine it means copy but why cock-a-roach?


Common usage in Hawaiian pidgen for borrowing something without asking.
:)
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44. IKE
Don't Talk To Strangers.....

Rick Springfield Busted on DUI Charges
Mon., May. 2, 2011 10:33 AM PDT by

Forget "Jessie's Girl," Rick
Springfield
was probably wishing he had a good bail bondsman last
night. Fulfilling this week's quota of old stars achieving new infamy, E! News confirms that the soap star-turned-pop star was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI last night.The '80s singer who earlier in the day was threatening to flash the crowd at the L.A.
Times' Festival of Books and who on Friday appeared in a live reveal for the Style network's How Do I Look? was pulled over on the Pacific Coast Highway around 8 p.m. for an unknown traffic violation. Shortly into the stop, the officer smelled alcohol on the breath of the 61-year-old. Field sobriety tests were conducted and failed, and Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told E! News that Springfield blew a 0.10 percent on the breathalyzer (a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 is California's legal limit).
He was released after sobering up, around 2:10 a.m., on $5,000
bond.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
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Quoting beell:
DANG-three posts in a row.
Time for Lunch...

Correction:
Morriston, TN tallied 25 tornadoes but EF scale has not been applied. Dallas, TX also counted but has not applied a damage rating to at least 2 confirmed tornadoes.
They were included in the count of 193 but omitted from the EF scale numbers. They are also included in the "Day" count


Made a quick trip through the NWS storm survey pages this morning. With a focus on the 26th-28th.

Confirmed Tornadoes by EF Scale
EF0 41
EF1 46
EF2 34
EF3 24
EF4 18
EF5 3
UNK 27
Total:193

I heard last night .4% of tornado's are classified as EF4/EF5. Using these numbers, 21/193 were classified EF4/EF5 (10.9% or 2725% the average) Unbelievable.
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The N OAA just released updated numbers for last week's massive tornado outbreak. To date:


DATE || Eyewitness reports || NOAA Estimate || Surveyed by WFOs*

25-26 || 55 || 40 || 25
26-27 || 111 || 75 || 40
27-28 || 268 || 190 || 113
TOTAL || 434 || 305 || 178

So, with 178 confirmed, last week's event is the official and undisputed #1 tornado outbreak ever in the U.S. in terms of number of tornadoes overall

- - - - - - - - - -

At least 327 people were killed during the outbreak.

- - - - - - - - - -

To date, the outbreak produced 21 EF3 tornadoes, 11 EF4s, and 2 EF5s. Those numbers are expected to rise.

- - - - - - - - - -

Preliminary estimates are that there were 600 tornadoes in April. That's number is more than twice the number in any previous April in history, and even more than the previous record for any month (which is 542 for May, 2003).

- - - - - - - - - -

*

Eyewitness Reports are the least accurate/reliable because with long-lived tornadoes like those in this outbreak tend to be reported multiple times. This artificially increases the number of tornadoes.

NOAA's Estimate is based on expert analysis of the Eyewitness Reports compared with the details coming out of the Tornadoes Surveyed by NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFO). It is the statistic NWS uses in public announcements since it is the best estimate at the time. The numbers will change (typically down) as WFOs complete their storm surveys.

Tornadoes Surveyed by WFOs is the latest confirmed number of tornadoes surveyed by the National Weather Service. When all storm surveys are complete this is the number that will go into the permanent record as the actual number.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13509

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 263
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
350 PM EDT TUE MAY 3 2011

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

PARTS OF WESTERN MARYLAND
LARGE PART OF CENTRAL AND EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA
SMALL PART OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA
SMALL PART OF EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA PANHANDLE

EFFECTIVE THIS TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 350 PM UNTIL
1000 PM EDT.

HAIL TO 1.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 70
MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.

THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 70
STATUTE MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 10 MILES SOUTH OF
MARTINSBURG WEST VIRGINIA TO 45 MILES NORTH OF WILKESBARRE
PENNSYLVANIA. FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE
ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU3).

REMEMBER...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE
FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY
DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.

DISCUSSION...THUNDERSTORMS EXPECTED TO INCREASE IN NUMBER AND
INTENSITY AHEAD OF COLD FRONT AND APPROACHING SURFACE LOW. WITH
STRONG HEATING...MLCAPES ACROSS THE WATCH RANGE UPWARDS TO 1500
J/KG...WHICH COUPLED WITH 40-50KT OF SHEAR WILL SUPPORT A FEW
THUNDERSTORMS BECOMING SEVERE WITH DAMAGING WINDS THE PRIMARY
THREAT.

AVIATION...A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL SURFACE AND ALOFT
TO 1.5 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE WIND GUSTS TO 60
KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO 500. MEAN STORM
MOTION VECTOR 23035.


...HALES
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Quoting flsky:
What is the time frame here?

Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


There's no key on that pic.. Which colors respond to each EF scale?



Sorry, went away for a while...

Link says Page Updated: April 6, 2011- Noaa Storm Prediction Center.

Link http://www.spc.noaa.gov/gis/svrgis/

Link

Although report database seems like 2010....

Welcome to the SVRGIS page for the SPC. This page has the United States severe report database (tornadoes 1950-2010, hail/wind 1955-2010), converted into shapefile (.shp) file format as well as a Geographic Information System (GIS) database. Additional data available for download include census and topographic datasets, among others. The data can be viewed in graphical, tabular, and statistical formats depending on end-user programs.
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5/3/11
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Quoting sunlinepr:
Tornado Tracks by EF-Scale




There's no key on that pic.. Which colors respond to each EF scale?
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.
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Quoting flsky:
What is the time frame here?



1950 through April 6th, 2011
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Uh-Oh! New article about rising sea levels.

By KARL RITTER, Associated Press Karl Ritter, Associated Press – 8 mins ago

STOCKHOLM – Arctic ice is melting faster than expected and could raise the average global sea level by as much as five feet this century, an authoritative new report suggests.

"That team, led by Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, projected that the accelerating melt of the vast Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets would itself raise sea levels by about 6 inches (15 centimeters) by 2050. Adding in other factors — expansion of the oceans from warming and runoff from other glaciers worldwide — would raise sea levels a total of some 13 inches (32 centimeters) by 2050, they said."

Full article: Link
Member Since: September 10, 2010 Posts: 3 Comments: 409
Steady stream of moisture flowing from BOC to Nova Scotia.

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What is the time frame here?

Quoting sunlinepr:
Tornado Tracks by EF-Scale


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Quoting beell:


Ok, My bad. They still end up with your "stuff" if you leave it out. But as far as the feeding and foraging habits of the cockroach, you are correct!
No problem. But I can see where it means "borrowing" a wireless without the knowledge of the owner, because a lot of times you don't see the cockroaches as they consume your wiring, stored paper, etc. They are sneaky buggers :)
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Tornado Tracks by EF-Scale


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Quoting kwgirl:
Well now that is funny. Cockroaches don't take anything. They eat it where it sits. Only ants carry off stuff. Believe me when I say, I have never seen a roach carry off something and they get pretty big around here. Even the flying palmetto bugs don't carry stuff.


Ok, My bad. They still end up with your "stuff" if you leave it out. But as far as the feeding and foraging habits of the cockroach, you are correct!
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Quoting beell:
"Cockroaches" take your stuff.

Most common idiomatic usage "cock-a-roach" refers to "borrowing" an unsecured wireless internet connection
Well now that is funny. Cockroaches don't take anything. They eat it where it sits. Only ants carry off stuff. Believe me when I say, I have never seen a roach carry off something and they get pretty big around here. Even the flying palmetto bugs don't carry stuff.
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DANG-three posts in a row.
Time for Lunch...

Correction:
Morriston, TN tallied 25 tornadoes but EF scale has not been applied. Dallas, TX also counted but has not applied a damage rating to at least 2 confirmed tornadoes.
They were included in the count of 193 but omitted from the EF scale numbers. They are also included in the "Day" count


Made a quick trip through the NWS storm survey pages this morning. With a focus on the 26th-28th.

Confirmed Tornadoes by EF Scale
EF0 41
EF1 46
EF2 34
EF3 24
EF4 18
EF5 3
UNK 27
Total:193

Count by Day:
04/26 37
04/27 133
04/28 23

NWS Storm Survey Page Links

Birmingham, AL
Huntsville, AL
Mobile, AL
Little Rock, AR
Tallahasse, FL
Atlanta, GA
Louisville, KY
Paducah, KY
Shreveport, LA
Jackson, MS
Albany, NY
Binghamton, NY
Wilmington, OH
State College, PA
Columbia, SC
Greenville, SC
Memphis, TN
Morristown, TN
Nashville, TN
Dallas, TX
Blacksburg, VA
Sterling, VA
Wakefield, VA
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"Cockroaches" take your stuff.

Most common idiomatic usage "cock-a-roach" refers to "borrowing" an unsecured wireless internet connection
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:


Thanks for posting that, bl.
I guess the numbers are cfs flow?

Do you mind if I cock-a-roach the graphic and post it in my blog? (Add:Of course, by asking I'm not cock-a-roaching. lol)

(Hey, tk!)


Give me a sec and I'll hand deliver it, bf.
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Quoting kwgirl:
HUH??? What does cock-a-roach in this instance mean? I don't think I have seen this usage. I imagine it means copy but why cock-a-roach?


Ditto! Inquiring minds want to know...
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:


Thanks for posting that, bl.
I guess the numbers are cfs flow?

Do you mind if I cock-a-roach the graphic and post it in my blog?

(Hey, tk!)
HUH??? What does cock-a-roach in this instance mean? I don't think I have seen this usage. I imagine it means copy but why cock-a-roach?
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Quoting beell:
Schematic of the Mississipi River Project Design Flood-The four control structures/floodways marked in red.
click graphic for full size



Thanks for posting that, bl.
I guess the numbers are cfs flow?

Do you mind if I cock-a-roach the graphic and post it in my blog? (Add:Of course, by asking I'm not cock-a-roaching. lol)

(Hey, tk!)
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Quoting Neapolitan:

two words: Note pad. ;-)


Ha! Yes, lesson learned...

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Quoting MrMixon:
ACK! My latest post got eaten by the internet monster. It had links and numbers and everything.

Sadface

two words: Note pad. ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13509
Quoting emcf30:
Thanks for the video emcf30. I usually like the summer here in the Keys so I can go waterspout spotting. You can sometimes tell when a cloud is going to form a funnel. And the NWS visited here with a doppler radar one summer and declared the Keys the "Waterspout Capital of the Nation". They are neat to watch. Sometimes you can even see the water being drawn up the funnel as the clouds above turn a greenish color. When they are big and head into land, usually they break apart and there is a huge deluge of rain. There have been occasions when the waterspout would jump onto land and continue on for a short bit. By then they are bouncing around on land. The worst I saw was a W/D semi turned on its side, the steeple of a church thrown to the ground and the High school lost the fiberglass roof to their patio. So I would guess EF0-1 in strength.
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I posted this on BFOTR's blog yesterday. It's a brief history and overview of "Project Design Flood".

Link
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I do understand the concern about flooding 130,000 acres of farmland, but I think there are two important points to remember about the flooding of this land:

1) The reason this farmland is "prime" is due to it's location along the Mississippi River. This land has flooded regularly for thousands of years, and flooding brings in more soil and nutrients (pollution too, but I'm nearly certain that the net gain from the additional nutrients is more than enough to balance the net loss from the highly diluted pollution brought in by these flood waters).

2) It sounds like a lot of land, but the state of Missouri alone has something like 29,000,000 acres of farmland. So 130,000 acres is less than a half a percent (0.4%) of all the farmland in Missouri.

It's a difficult situation for the farmers and homeowners who live in the "floodway", but as a nation we won't see so much as a tiny blip in our food prices due to these floods...
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Schematic of the Mississipi River Project Design Flood-The four control structures/floodways marked in red.
click graphic for full size

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ACK! My latest post got eaten by the internet monster. It had links and numbers and everything.

Sadface
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Quoting atmoaggie:
It's not that the amount of rainfall has been *that* extreme, but that it has been high for such a large area all in the same river's watershed at the same time as the snowmelt.

We have seen much higher percent of rainfall for a month's time plenty of times. But the 200 % area, in this case is so large.


(Gee, is TX's drought going to grow all the way to Mobile?)

PS: As of this posting much of the west has not been updated, thus grayed


Good point, atmo, about the large area - up in Montana even. Thanks for the good 30-day look at the Mississippi drainage system rainfall. The map covers everything east of the Continental Divide, so the gray areas probably don't apply to water that's reaching/gonna reach the Mississippi R. East of the Appalachians, of course, doesn't either, but all the way up to NY does.

Would be interesting to see a similar map of winter snowfall amounts vs normal.
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It could be called the Hydro Interstate Transportation System (HITS)
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Quoting KennyNebraska:
The U.S. should develop a Water Interstate System that would be capable of pumping flood waters, at high speed, from states suffering under flood conditions, to states suffering from drought conditions.

Since the continental U.S. is so large and since climatology is always in flux, there are always areas where there is too much water and areas where there is too little.

Practically every state has either reservoirs or rivers that flood from winter runoff or heavy rains, or fall to low levels due to drought. Seasonal climatology, which is somewhat predictable with ENSO, can help to prepare operators to schedule water deliveries from areas with too much to areas that have too little.

Purposely blowing up levees to intentionally flood vast areas of productive farmland in order to save cities or other sensitive areas is both crude and destructive.

Imagine being able to high speed all that Mississippi flood water to West Texas and South Florida.



The funny thing is... the destruction of the levee is exactly what you're describing - moving water from one area to another via a man-made system, crude though it may be. This country is already criss-crossed with thousands and thousands of floodways, dams, ditches, pipelines, and other water diversions... but to do it on the scale you're proposing (large enough to relieve the Midwestern floods by sending the water to Texas) would require massive infrastructure on a prohibitively expensive scale.

Heck, my town can't even afford to fix all of the broken and silt-choked culverts that are supposed to prevent our driveways from flooding.

The capacity of existing pipelines and ditches is incredibly puny compared to the nearly unfathomable amount of extra water that the Midwest is dealing with (and the similarly unfathomable amount of water that Texas would need to end its drought).

For instance, a VERY expensive ($4 billion) proposal in Colorado would build a 400-mile, 42-inch pipeline to transfer (at most) 450,000 acre-feet of water per year. Looking at the rainfall maps some folks have posted, a very rough calculation suggests that the worst-affected area in the center of the bulls-eye has received more than 30 million acre-feet of water in just 30 days. We'd need a pipeline big enough to hold a house to transport that quantity of water with any efficiency... and we'd need an entire network of such pipelines so when the flooding happens somewhere else that water could be routed to the places that need it.

I do appreciate where you're coming from, but the economics just don't work (and that's not even considering NIMBY issues...).
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Bringing this over from the previous especially since doc's video link isn't working.. wouldn't want anyone to miss "the primacord detonating at its leisurely 4 miles-per-second pace" B^)

Video: Birds Point levee breach, slowed down frame by frame



Real time and slowed down frame by frame play back of the explosion breaching the Birds Point levee in Mississippi County, Mo. on Monday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blew an 11,000 foot hole in the Birds Point levee, breaching it to allow water to fill the floodway and relieve pressure and lower the flood levels upstream at Cairo, Ill., and other communities. Video by David Carson-dcarson@post-dispatch.com
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The U.S. should develop a Water Interstate System that would be capable of pumping flood waters, at high speed, from states suffering under flood conditions, to states suffering from drought conditions.

Since the continental U.S. is so large and since climatology is always in flux, there are always areas where there is too much water and areas where there is too little.

Practically every state has either reservoirs or rivers that flood from winter runoff or heavy rains, or fall to low levels due to drought. Seasonal climatology, which is somewhat predictable with ENSO, can help to prepare operators to schedule water deliveries from areas with too much to areas that have too little.

Purposely blowing up levees to intentionally flood vast areas of productive farmland in order to save cities or other sensitive areas is both crude and destructive.

Imagine being able to high speed all that Mississippi flood water to West Texas and South Florida.
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Incredible amounts of rain: this image shows rainfall for the past 30 days over the eastern 2/3 of the U.S. Note the thousands of square miles in the Mississippi watershed that have received more than a foot of rain in the past month, and the many thousands more that have seen more than half a foot. And the map in P451's comment #4 shows a huge area receiving three, four, five and even six times normal rainfall over the past two weeks. Amazing...

(From NWS Southern Region HQ)

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13509
Thanks Jeff...
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Thanks DRM. There are just no words. :(
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It's not that the amount of rainfall has been *that* extreme, but that it has been high for such a large area all in the same river's watershed at the same time as the snowmelt.

We have seen much higher percent of rainfall for a month's time plenty of times. But the 200 % area, in this case is so large.


(Gee, is TX's drought going to grow all the way to Mobile?)

PS: As of this posting much of the west has not been updated, thus grayed
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Thank you Dr. Masters.

A very serious situation indeed.
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water water everywhere

thanks for update doc
have a nice day
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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