America's Achilles' heel: the Mississippi River's Old River Control Structure

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:20 PM GMT on May 13, 2011

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America has an Achilles' heel. It lies on a quiet, unpopulated stretch of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, a few miles east of the tiny town of Simmesport. Rising up from the flat, wooded west flood plain of the Mississippi River tower four massive concrete and steel structures that would make a Pharaoh envious--the Army Corps' of Engineers greatest work, the billion-dollar Old River Control Structure. This marvel of modern civil engineering has, for fifty years, done what many thought impossible--impose man's will on the Mississippi River. Mark Twain, who captained a Mississippi river boat for many years, wrote in his book Life on the Mississippi, "ten thousand river commissions, with the mines of the world at their back, cannot tame that lawless stream, cannot curb it or define it, cannot say to it "Go here," or Go there, and make it obey; cannot save a shore which it has sentenced; cannot bar its path with an obstruction which it will not tear down, dance over, and laugh at." The great river wants to carve a new path to the Gulf of Mexico; only the Old River Control Structure keeps it at bay. Failure of the Old River Control Structure would be a severe blow to America's economy, interrupting a huge portion of our imports and exports that ship along the Mississippi River. Closure of the Mississippi to shipping would cost $295 million per day, said Gary LaGrange, executive director of the Port of New Orleans, during a news conference Thursday. The structure will receive its most severe test in its history in the coming two weeks, as the Mississippi River's greatest flood on record crests at a level never before seen.


Figure 1. Two views of the Mississippi River. Left: the meander paths of the Mississippi over time, as published in "Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River" (Fisk, 1944). Right: The Army Corps of Engineers' view of Mississippi River peak flow rates during a maximum 1-in-500 year "Project Flood" (U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, 1958.) The places outlined in red are where the Corps has built flood control structures capable of diverting a portion of the Mississippi's flow.

A better path to the Gulf
The mighty Mississippi River keeps on rollin' along its final 300 miles to the Gulf of Mexico south of New Orleans--but unwillingly. There is a better way to the Gulf--150 miles shorter, and more than twice as steep. This path lies down the Atchafalaya River, which connects to the Mississippi at a point 45 miles north-northwest of Baton Rouge, 300 river miles from the Gulf of Mexico Delta. Each year, the path down the Atchafalaya grows more inviting. As the massive amounts of sediments the Mississippi carries--scoured from fully 41% of the U.S. land area--reach the Gulf of Mexico, the river's path grows longer. This forces it to dump large amounts of sediment hundreds of miles upstream, in order to build its bed higher and maintain the flow rates needed to flush such huge amounts of sediment to the sea. Thus the difference in elevation between the bed of the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya--currently 17 - 19 feet at typical flow rates of the rivers--grows ever steeper, and the path to the Gulf down the Atchafalaya more inviting. Floods like this year's great flood further increase the slope, as flood waters scour out the bed of the Atchafalaya. Without the Old River Control Structure, the Mississippi River would have carved a new path to the Gulf in the 1970s, leaving Baton Rouge and New Orleans stranded on a salt water estuary, with no fresh water to supply their people and industry.

History of the Old River Control Structure
The Mississippi River has been carving a path to the ocean since the time of the dinosaurs, always seeking the shortest and steepest route possible. Approximately once every 1000 years, the river jumps out of its banks and carves a new path. In John McPhee's fantastic essay, The Control of Nature, we learn:

The Mississippi's main channel of three thousand years ago is now the quiet water of Bayou Teche, which mimics the shape of the Mississippi. Along Bayou Teche, on the high ground of ancient natural levees, are Jeanerette, Breaux Bridge, Broussard, Olivier--arcuate strings of Cajun towns. Eight hundred years before the birth of Christ, the channel was captured from the east. It shifted abruptly and flowed in that direction for about a thousand years. In the second century a.d., it was captured again, and taken south, by the now unprepossessing Bayou Lafourche, which, by the year 1000, was losing its hegemony to the river's present course, through the region that would be known as Plaquemines. By the nineteen-fifties, the Mississippi River had advanced so far past New Orleans and out into the Gulf that it was about to shift again, and its offspring Atchafalaya was ready to receive it.

For the Mississippi to make such a change was completely natural, but in the interval since the last shift Europeans had settled beside the river, a nation had developed, and the nation could not afford nature. The consequences of the Atchafalaya's conquest of the Mississippi would include but not be limited to the demise of Baton Rouge and the virtual destruction of New Orleans. With its fresh water gone, its harbor a silt bar, its economy disconnected from inland commerce, New Orleans would turn into New Gomorrah. Moreover, there were so many big industries between the two cities that at night they made the river glow like a worm. As a result of settlement patterns, this reach of the Mississippi had long been known as "the German coast," and now, with B. F. Goodrich, E. I. du Pont, Union Carbide, Reynolds Metals, Shell, Mobil, Texaco, Exxon, Monsanto, Uniroyal, Georgia-Pacific, Hydrocarbon Industries, Vulcan Materials, Nalco Chemical, Freeport Chemical, Dow Chemical, Allied Chemical, Stauffer Chemical, Hooker Chemicals, Rubicon Chemicals, American Petrofina--with an infrastructural concentration equaled in few other places--it was often called "the American Ruhr." The industries were there because of the river. They had come for its navigational convenience and its fresh water. They would not, and could not, linger beside a tidal creek. For nature to take its course was simply unthinkable. The Sixth World War would do less damage to southern Louisiana. Nature, in this place, had become an enemy of the state.


The Atchafalaya steadily took more and more of the Mississippi's water to the Gulf of Mexico during the 20th Century, until by 1950, it had captured 30% of the great river's flow, becoming the 4th largest river in the U.S. by volume discharge. The Army Corps of Engineers stepped in, and in the late 1950s began construction of a massive structure that resembled a dam with gates to control the amount of water escaping from the Mississippi to the Atchafalaya. This "Low Sill Structure", completed in 1963, consisted of a dam with 11 gates, each 44 feet wide, that could be raised or lowered. The entire structure was 566 feet long. A companion "Overbank Structure" was built on dry land next to the Low Sill Structure, in order to control extreme water flows during major floods. The Overbank Structure had 73 bays, each 44 feet wide, and was 3,356 feet long. The total cost of the two structures: about $300 million.


Figure 2. Aerial view of the Mississippi River's Old River Control Structure, looking downstream (south.) Image credit: U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

The flood of 1973: Old River Control Structure almost fails
For the first ten years after completion of the Old River Control Structure, no major floods tested it, leading the Army Corps to declare, "We harnessed it, straightened it, regularized it, shackled it." But in 1973, a series of heavy snowstorms in the Upper Midwest was followed by exceptionally heavy spring rains in the South. The Mighty Mississippi rose inexorably until the flow rate at the Old River Control Structure reached 2 million cubic feet per second--twenty times the flow of Niagara Falls--and stayed there for more almost three months. Turbulence from the unprecedented flows through the Low Sill Structure scoured the foundation and destroyed a 67-foot-high wing wall that guided water into the structure. Scour holes as big as a football field developed upstream, downstream, and underneath the structure, exposing 50 feet of the 90-foot long steel pilings supporting the structure. The structure began vibrating dangerously, so much so that it would slam open car doors of vehicles parking on top of Highway 15 that crosses over the top. Emergency repairs saved the structure, but it came every close to complete failure.

The flood of 1973 permanently damaged the Low Sill Structure, forcing the Corps to build additional structures to control future great floods. The first of these structures was the Auxilliary Control Structure. This 442-foot long structure, completed in 1986, consisted of six gates, each 62 feet wide, and cost $206 million to build. Joining the mix in the late 1980s was a 192-megawatt hydroelectric power plant, build at a cost of $520 million.


Figure 3. The flow of water in the Mississippi River as of Friday, May 13 (red line) has exceeded 2 million cubic feet per second, and was approaching the all-time record (dashed blue line.) Image credit: USACE.

The Old River Control Structure's greatest test: the flood of 2011
Flow rates of the Mississippi at the latitude of the Old River Control Structure are expected to exceed the all-time record on Saturday, giving the Old River Control Structure its greatest test since the flood of 1973. Since there are now four structures to control the flooding instead of just the two that existed in 1973, the Old River Control Structure should be able to handle a much greater flow of water. The flood of 2011 is not as large as the maximum 1-in-500 year "Project Flood" that the Old River Control Structure was designed to handle, and the Army Corps of Engineers has expressed confidence that the structure can handle the current flood. However, the system has never been tested in these conditions before. This is a dangerous flood, and very high water levels are expected for many weeks. Unexpected flaws in the design of the Old River Control Structure may give it a few percent chance of failure under these sorts of unprecedented conditions. While I expect that the Old River Control Structure will indeed hold back the great flood of 2011, we also need to be concerned about the levees on either side of the structure. The levees near Old River Control Structure range from 71 - 74 feet high, and the flood is expected to crest at 65.5 feet on May 22. This is, in theory, plenty of levee to handle such a flood, but levees subjected to long periods of pressure can and do fail sometimes, and the Corps has to be super-careful to keep all the levees under constant surveillance and quickly move to repair sand boils or piping problems that might develop. Any failure of a levee on the west bank of the Mississippi could allow the river to jump its banks permanently and carve a new path to the Gulf of Mexico. I'll say more about the potential costs of such an event in a future post.

According to the latest information from the Army Corps the Old River Control Structure is currently passing 624,000 cubic feet per second of water, which is 1% beyond what is intended in a maximum "Project Flood." The flow rate of the Mississippi at New Orleans is at 100% of the maximum Project Flood. These are dangerous flow rates, and makes it likely that the Army Corps will open the Morganza Spillway in the next few days to take pressure off of the Old River Control Structure and New Orleans levees. Neither can be allowed to fail. In theory, the Old River Control Structure can be operated at 140% of a Project Flood, since there are now four control structures instead of just the two that existed in 1973 (flows rates of 300,000 cfs, 350,000 cfs, 320,000 cfs, and 170,000 cfs can go through the Low Sill, Auxiliary, Overbank, and Hydroelectric structures, respectively.) Apparently, the Corps is considering this, as evidenced by their Scenario #3 images they posted yesterday. This is a risky proposition, as the Old River Control Structure would be pushed to its absolute limit in this scenario. It would seem a lower risk proposition to open the Morganza spillway to divert up to 600,000 cfs, unless there are concerns the Corps has they aren't telling us about.


Figure 4. Kayaking, anyone? The stilling basin downstream of the Low Sill Structure of the Old River Control Structure, as seen during major flood stage of the Mississippi River on May 10, 2011. The flow rate is 2 - 3 times that of Niagara Falls here. Video by Lee Alessi.

Recommended reading
John McPhee's fantastic essay, The Control of Nature

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Skyepony:
Here's someone in Terrebonne Parish, expected to get 5' of water in her house when Morganza spillway is opened. Bought & built there without ever knowing it was a flood plain.

Ow.
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Quoting aquak9:
I see slowly but surely the old crew is crawling out of their winter caves

Hey!! most of us aren't even using walkers yet!

I'm about to go to my winter cave, with my walker and my meds and my hot water bottle and my hot packs.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Reverse of what normally happens. Normally north parts of county gets more, as do you guys. At one point there was a line of storms out over the water and I thought it would stay underneath us, but then it built up here.
But I am NOT putting the doors and top back on the Jeep when the 50's show up this week. Just gonna tough it out. (brrrrrrr at 5:30 in the morning)

you have 50's in the morning,,, i have mid to high 30's here and it's not even winter yet.
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Quoting hcubed:


And, according to the map in #131, I10 may be seeing some problems 24 hours after Morganza's opened.

Anyone know the height of I10 at that point? They may have to restrict traffic on all the bridges for a while.
That part of I-10 is normally ~30 feet above the level of the water in the swamp it traverses. East and west of the Atchafalaya basin I-10 only goes to roadbed (not bridge) outside the leveed area. Is it possible to get water on I-10 at some point? Yes. Is it likely to happen and to be closed? No. Are the bridges in danger? I seriously doubt it.

From below, on the water:


Same, near one of the channel overpasses:
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I see slowly but surely the old crew is crawling out of their winter caves

Hey!! most of us aren't even using walkers yet!
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 165 Comments: 25849
Quoting IKE:

For here...

Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 48.

Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of showers after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 76.

Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 49.


May be a new record for us.
Min Temperature (forecast)52%uFFFDF (average)66 (record)55 (1981)

edit: I wish they would fix the modify comment so it wouldn't mess up the symbols
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting Neapolitan:

According to the links I found on Wikipedia, the Ohio averages 281,000 cfs, with a max of 1.85 million cfs. The Missouri averages 86,340 cfs, with a max of 712,200 cfs. So not one-tenth, but definitely far less at a bit under a third as much.

Apropos of almost nothing, I lived for a while in Wyoming at a place about 10 miles south of the South Fork of the Popo Agie River and about 10 miles north of the Sweetwater River. The Popo Agie flowed north and east, met with the Bighorn, then the Yellowstone as it cut through Montana before joining the Missouri in North Dakota about 20 miles south of the Canadian border. From there, the river cut back to the southeast through South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri before meeting up with the Mississippi at St. Louis. On the other hand, the Sweetwater ran east where it met up with the North Platte, which in turn became the Platte all the way through Nebraska before meeting up with the Missouri at Omaha.

I always thought it fascinating that two streams separated by a simple 20-minute drive could take such utterly different routes before meeting up again. Of course, equally fascinating was knowing that the headwaters of the Wind and Snake Rivers are just five or so miles apart, but waters from the former end up in the Gulf of Mexico, while those from the second end up in the Pacific at the Washington/Oregon border.

Well, I always thought it was fascinating, anyway. ;-)


It is interesting. The Don and Volga rivers in Russia also have an interesting relationship. Their starting points are hundreds of miles apart. Yet the Don's eastern watershed boundary is within spitting distance of the Volga for hundreds of miles and the two approach within 60 miles before making hard turns, the Don flowing into the Black Sea and the Volga into the Caspian. A canal now connects them at their close point, started by the Ottomans centuries ago and finished by the Russians post WW2.
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Quoting kmanislander:


That big low in the N Atl. has been slow to leave and has been pulling all of the moisture in the NW Caribbean away. Maybe when that departs we will get some much needed rain.


Good morning kmanislander from rainy Puerto Rico. Contrary from where you are,that moist tail is bringing rain to us since Wednesday.Another active afternoon is on tap.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14216
Quoting aquak9:
Well. What a group of fine handsome gentlemen I see here this morning.

Bragging about their rainfall.

(throws coffee cup at rain gauge)


Not the COFFEE cup!!
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Good morning everyone. I see slowly but surely the old crew is crawling out of their winter caves for another hurricane season.
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248. IKE

Quoting PcolaDan:


Reverse of what normally happens. Normally north parts of county gets more, as do you guys. At one point there was a line of storms out over the water and I thought it would stay underneath us, but then it built up here.
But I am NOT putting the doors and top back on the Jeep when the 50's show up this week. Just gonna tough it out. (brrrrrrr at 5:30 in the morning)
For here...

Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 48.

Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of showers after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 76.

Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 49.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
247. IKE

Quoting kmanislander:
I will bid you all a good day for now. Time for usual Saturday routine to begin. See you in the days and weeks ahead.
FORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
246. IKE

Quoting kmanislander:


I agree. Typically we benefit from the passage of tropical waves and afternoon showers from daytime heating. The Twaves are still a ways off though.
Give it a few more weeks. I think the GOM gets at least one cane in 2011...maybe more.

Seems you almost always get some threats during the season. Good luck in 2011!!!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
I will bid you all a good day for now. Time for usual Saturday routine to begin. See you in the days and weeks ahead.
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Quoting IKE:

Just looking at the GFS and ECMWF...don't see much down your way the next 7-10 days.

ECMWF shows a low off of the Carolina coast in about 8-10 days. That's all I see.

East-PAC season starts in...

16 hours...
28 minutes...


I agree. Typically we benefit from the passage of tropical waves and afternoon showers from daytime heating. The Twaves are still a ways off though.
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Quoting IKE:

I noticed Pensacola was getting some good rains yesterday evening. That line stayed south of me.

Glad you got some good amounts.


Reverse of what normally happens. Normally north parts of county gets more, as do you guys. At one point there was a line of storms out over the water and I thought it would stay underneath us, but then it built up here.
But I am NOT putting the doors and top back on the Jeep when the 50's show up this week. Just gonna tough it out. (brrrrrrr at 5:30 in the morning)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
242. IKE

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
241. IKE
Testing....testing...***this is only a test***

0-0-0.


Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
240. IKE

Quoting kmanislander:


That big low in the N Atl. has been slow to leave and has been pulling all of the moisture in the NW Caribbean away. Maybe when that departs we will get some much needed rain.
Just looking at the GFS and ECMWF...don't see much down your way the next 7-10 days.

ECMWF shows a low off of the Carolina coast in about 8-10 days. That's all I see.

East-PAC season starts in...

16 hours...
28 minutes...
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting IKE:

It's been dry for awhile along the gulf coast. We needed rain here.

Maybe by the end of the month you may see some tropical moisture.


That big low in the N Atl. has been slow to leave and has been pulling all of the moisture in the NW Caribbean away. Maybe when that departs we will get some much needed rain.
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Quoting aquak9:
Well. What a group of fine handsome gentlemen I see here this morning.

Bragging about their rainfall.

(throws coffee cup at rain gauge)


Or in my case lamenting the lack thereof :-)
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Quoting DestinJeff:


Kman, good to see you're still not over-exerting yourself!

Pre-season chatter has been quite different this year than last, with less "sky is falling" predictions. Although it may seem as such, the situation in LA is not entirely a Natural Disaster.

More of a situation of Nature flexing its muscle.


Three day weekend here LOL

The history of the challenge from the river makes for very interesting reading. Man versus nature.

As for the upcoming season my primary concern is that indications are we will likely have neutral ENSO conditions. Neutral years tend to see greater activity in the Caribbean and in particular greater risk for passage of a system through the NW Caribbean.

We will know soon enough.
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Well. What a group of fine handsome gentlemen I see here this morning.

Bragging about their rainfall.

(throws coffee cup at rain gauge)
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 165 Comments: 25849
235. IKE

Quoting PcolaDan:


Had about 2.5 inches here. Two downpours each had about an inch in 15 minutes or so yesterday afternoon. Another half inch in the last one that went through.
I noticed Pensacola was getting some good rains yesterday evening. That line stayed south of me.

Glad you got some good amounts.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
234. IKE

Quoting kmanislander:


You've got too much and we have none. Dry as a bone here for the past several months save for the odd shower that evaporates quickly. We have had below average rainfall since last November.
It's been dry for awhile along the gulf coast. We needed rain here.

Maybe by the end of the month you may see some tropical moisture.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
All through the first few paragraphs I kept saying to myself: Jeff should read _The_Control_of_Nature_ by John McPhee. I should have known.

If Jeff's recommendation isn't enough, let me add mine. (Ha!) Get this book and read it. McPhee is one of the world's most entertaining authors on a really wide variety of subjects from flood control to orange-growing - from aircraft design to playing basketball - from building canoes to geology.
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Quoting IKE:

I'm cleaning it after my rain. Had .75 total.


Had about 2.5 inches here. Two downpours each had about an inch in 15 minutes or so yesterday afternoon. Another half inch in the last one that went through.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting Chicklit:
Morning, looks like today's the day they reopen Morganza.

Excerpt from link below: It (Morganza Spillway) is set to be opened when a flow rate of 1.5 million cubic feet per second is reached and projected to rise. Just north of the spillway at Red River Landing, the river had reached that flow rate, according to the National Weather Service.

To put things in perspective, corps engineer Jerry Smith crunched some numbers and found that the amount of water flowing past Vicksburg, Miss., would fill the Superdome, where the NFL's New Orleans Saints play, in 50 seconds.

APLink

Fill from floor to ceiling in 50seconds?????
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Quoting scooster67:
Thats not much. I am in north Fl at Ichetucknee Spring/Fort White. Only .50 inches the last 90 days and not much before that. My backyard looks like a desert and my drainfield is the oasis.

Maybe today :)

Here in Naples, we're at 0.14 for May. Add that to 0.17 for April, and things have been fairly crackly.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13509
Quoting IKE:

Hey...hey. Yeah..the flooding is the top news story.


You've got too much and we have none. Dry as a bone here for the past several months save for the odd shower that evaporates quickly. We have had below average rainfall since last November.
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226. IKE

Quoting aquak9:
(lifts coffee cup to all from NE Fla)
I have 60%, might as well be 6%.
Ike's a rainhog with a magic rain gauge.
I'm cleaning it after my rain. Had .75 total.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
225. IKE

Quoting kmanislander:


Good morning Ike. Long time since we chatted. I have been watching the flooding saga unfold with interest. It seems there is no shortage of natural disasters this year. Hopefully not a portent for the upcoming hurricane season.

Hey...hey. Yeah..the flooding is the top news story.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
(lifts coffee cup to all from NE Fla)
I have 60%, might as well be 6%.
Ike's a rainhog with a magic rain gauge.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 165 Comments: 25849
Quoting sunlinepr:
Massive Tornado Onslaught Raises Questions About Building Practices, Code Enforcement

{snip}


I was involved in the design of my new house in the decade following several devastating hurricanes (Hugo and the like) and I specified that there be continuous tension paths from the roof decking (glued and screwed to the rafters/trusses), down the outside walls, and bolted to the poured/reinforced concrete foundation. Percentagewise, I doubt it added a lot to the cost of construction. But when tornado weather shows up in Michigan, I take a certain comfort in knowing that I have done what is possible to prevent or reduce any damage.

The building inspector DID express some surprise, but said he wished more people took that sort of thing seriously.
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Quoting IKE:
Mike Bettis on TWC chasing tornadoes...uh....I've seen enough death and destruction from tornadoes. Really don't want or need to see anymore. I know what they look like.



Good morning Ike. Long time since we chatted. I have been watching the flooding saga unfold with interest. It seems there is no shortage of natural disasters this year. Hopefully not a portent for the upcoming hurricane season.

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221. IKE
Mike Bettis on TWC chasing tornadoes...uh....I've seen enough death and destruction from tornadoes. Really don't want or need to see anymore. I know what they look like.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
219. IKE

Quoting scooster67:
Thats not much. I am in north Fl at Ichetucknee Spring/Fort White. Only .50 inches the last 90 days and not much before that. My backyard looks like a desert and my drainfield is the oasis.

Maybe today :)
It's 3/4th's of an inch. I'll take it. Good luck getting rain.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting IKE:
i picked up .40 inches of rain just now, bringing my total to .74 since yesterday afternoon.

Now I can mow my yard:)
Thats not much. I am in north Fl at Ichetucknee Spring/Fort White. Only .50 inches the last 90 days and not much before that. My backyard looks like a desert and my drainfield is the oasis.

Maybe today :)
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217. IKE
i picked up .40 inches of rain just now, bringing my total to .74 since yesterday afternoon.

Now I can mow my yard:)
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
216. IKE
Cooler weather coming in here....

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Northwest wind between 5 and 15 mph.

Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 54. West northwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.

Monday: A 20 percent chance of rain. Partly sunny, with a high near 74. West northwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.

Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 48.

Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of showers after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 76.

Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 49.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 82.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
When the warm sea breeze hits the front from the west things could get dicey this afternoon.

454 AM EDT SAT MAY 14 2011

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

.THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
SCATTERED LIGHTNING STORM CHANCES WILL DEVELOP THIS AFTERNOON ACROSS WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA ALONG THE WEST COAST SEA BREEZE.

THIS ACTIVITY WILL CONTINUE TO INCREASE IN INTENSITY THROUGH LATE AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING AS STORMS ADVANCE EASTWARD AND PILE UP ALONG THE EAST COAST.

SOUTHWESTERLY LOW-LEVEL WINDS APPEAR TOO STRONG FOR THE EAST COAST SEA BREEZE TO DEVELOP AND MOVE INLAND TODAY. HOWEVER...THERE IS A CHANCE IT COULD DEVELOP ALONG THE SPACE AND TREASURE COASTS REMAIN PINNED ALONG THE COAST. THIS COULD ACT TO INTENSIFY STORMS AS THEY ADVANCE EASTWARD FROM THE WEST. COLDER AIR ALOFT WILL ALSO BE IN PLACE ALLOWING THE ATMOSPHERE TO FURTHER DESTABILIZE AND COULD ALSO ENHANCE STORM STRENGTH.

...Spotters are requested to self-activate if needed.
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214. IKE

Quoting Chicklit:
Hey congrats, Ike. We're still waiting for ours.
I had .34 inches last night. This must be the cold front moving through.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Hey congrats, Ike. We're still waiting for ours.

EAConusLoopLink
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212. IKE
More rain coming in!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!


Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Morning, looks like today's the day they reopen Morganza.

Excerpt from link below: It (Morganza Spillway) is set to be opened when a flow rate of 1.5 million cubic feet per second is reached and projected to rise. Just north of the spillway at Red River Landing, the river had reached that flow rate, according to the National Weather Service.

To put things in perspective, corps engineer Jerry Smith crunched some numbers and found that the amount of water flowing past Vicksburg, Miss., would fill the Superdome, where the NFL's New Orleans Saints play, in 50 seconds.

APLink
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Complying with the Japanese government's requests issued due to their location directly over the TokaiEarthquake subduction zone, all 5 reactors at Hamaoka have been shut down for safety upgrades.
Today, KansaiElectricPowerCompany will shut down the No.3 reactor at Mihama for a periodic inspection.
As a result, 35 or 2/3rds of Japan's nuclear reactors have been taken out of operation.
"Some stopped operating after the March 11th disaster, while others have been suspended after routine inspections"...
...ie what would have received a "Tut tut. Call us back if you ever get around to fixing the problems" before the FukushimaDaiichi disaster is now triggering shutdowns.

Meanwhile in the US, the NuclearRegulatoryCommission is granting long-term extensions to powerplant operators for continued operations of senescent/degenerate/obsolete nuclear reactors without even bothering to check whether they remain in compliance with the structural&engineering parameters contained within their original operating charters.
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The 37.6kilometres(~23.4miles)deep magnitude6.2earthquake was epicentered at
~21miles(~33kilometres) at 97.6degrees(E) from FukushimaDaiichi
~21miles(~34kilometres) at 77.5degrees(ENE) from FukushimaDaini

The lone red dot represents centralTokyo
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Quoting atmoaggie:
*Most* of Natchez-proper is on a bluff 20 feet above the level of the river at it's current height, IIRC.
Quoting atmoaggie:
*Most* of Natchez-proper is on a bluff 20 feet above the level of the river at it's current height, IIRC.


Thanks Atmo, that's good to hear... I hope others fare as well.
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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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