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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One can see here that the 200mb equatorial ridge is still sitting way down near the equator (look for it northeast of Brazil). That ridge is forecasted by the GFS to make a significant shift northward to between 10N and 15N during the final 10 days of May, which will provide a lower wind-shear environment in the Caribbean, at least periodically, which could support tropical mischief should a disturbance develop.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:
The Baton Rouge populace does not get their freshwater from the river.

Only the industries on the river do. And use it for cooling/transport/etc.

New Orleans does use treated river water for their drinking water, etc. Not sure about the towns in between the two.


"Now that's what I call high quality H2O."
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Quoting mossyhead:
If you would look at it further, look at the time it would take to plan it, get the enviromental impact studies,taking over the land, and build the dams and water control. Businesses would have to relocate to offset the major problems. And the fresh water problems for N.O. and Baton Rouge would cause problems for industry as well as civilian.
The Baton Rouge populace does not get their freshwater from the river.

Only the industries on the river do. And use it for cooling/transport/etc.

New Orleans does use treated river water for their drinking water, etc. Not sure about the towns in between the two.
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Quoting beell:


From an economics viewpoint, putting the river back in its current location would be the the only alternative.
If you would look at it further, look at the time it would take to plan it, get the enviromental impact studies,taking over the land, and build the dams and water control. Businesses would have to relocate to offset the major problems. And the fresh water problems for N.O. and Baton Rouge would cause problems for industry as well as civilian.
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Quoting emcf30:
Ref #34, Nea.

When I posted that map a few days ago I was asking if that was a real possibility. Now I realize it Could be a real possibility especially what occurred to the structure in 1973. This is a scary situation. Sometimes you just cannot harness Mother Nature.
On the flipside, if the river went down the Atchafalaya it would start rebuilding the delta down by Morgan City and reverse the loss of wetlands due to subsidence caused by forcing the MS along its current path. Little new wetland areas are formed now due to the mouth of the river emptying into extremely deep water.
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still a front attached to that low reed,not tropical,probably why no mention by the nhc
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Quoting Neapolitan:
This would be bad. Very, very bad:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


Nature, in this place, had become an enemy of the state. Yes. And the enemy sometimes wins.
This is a little unsettling also...GFS model...Link
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22728
Quoting Patrap:
All I can say here @ Audubon turn on the Miss River 5 miles above The French Quarter,,is that's one High,Wide,and fast River here today..

Ironically,,there is some Levee toe seepage at the COE Headquarters Building on River Road as well.
Ill post some pics and video later today on that and the River here.

Yeah, the USACE HQ area is the first to get water with a high river, isn't it?
Apropos.
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Ref #34, Nea.

When I posted that map a few days ago I was asking if that was a real possibility. Now I realize it Could be a real possibility especially what occurred to the structure in 1973. This is a scary situation. Sometimes you just cannot harness Mother Nature.
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Quoting txjac:



Are you packing up to be prepared? How does one prepare for that much water???


I am head of our disaser recovery for my employer.Right now we are watching and trying to get the lastest info. I am planing on this weekend to pack up pictures and important papers. We are not suppose to be afected because we are on the "Good" side of the leeves but once again I don't have alot of faith in the Corps.
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45. JRRP
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I love New Orleans.

I fear a domestic terrorist could easily force a levee failure near the ORCS.

If this happens would it be easier to dam and divert the Mississippi back to it's old path, just to have the possibility of hit happening again, or just start using the Atchafalaya?

Perhaps a lock could be built near the current mouth in New Orleans, and another one at the ORCS, and pumps keep the old riverbed full of water? Boats and barges could use either Atchafalaya or the old riverbed.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Here is someone that needs help. I dont see the button of images,links etc. I guess I did something wrong as they dissapeared.How do I get them back? I want to post links and images.


The same thing happened to me all the time with IE. Switched to Mozilla Firefox a couple months ago have not had a problem with it yet. Worth the couple of minutes to download for free
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Here is someone that needs help. I dont see the button of images,links etc. I guess I did something wrong as they dissapeared.How do I get them back? I want to post links and images.
I thinks that's an intermittant Exploder...I mean Explorer problem. Restart Explorer, it that doesn't work reboot comp. :^(
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Quoting reedzone:
However, I can see the argument by clearly looking at the visible, this isn't warm core but it wouldn't hurt to put an invest tag on it since it has sustained popcorn storms around the center for about 72 hours now. Clearly an upper level low that is trying, which is the keyword, TRYING to work down to the surface.


The low is down to the surface. It was a strong VERTICALLY stacked cyclone meaning that the upper mid and lower cyclones are all stacked over each other. Mea 101. Surface cyclones develop out ahead of the upper level cyclone in an area of increased divergence. They strengthen up until the point the upper level cyclone captures them and they become vertically stacked. They are then at the mature phase and slowly begin to weaken. During this process the lower level cyclone can become tropical and try to survive off tropical processes as the upper level cyclone weakens. The storm gets called subtropical when although it still has an upper level cyclone the surface cyclone is surviving based mainly on tropical processes. This storm is more tropical than the average nor'easter but still not to the point of what deserves to be called subtropical since as the ull is weakening the entire cyclone is weakening.
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Quoting GOLSUTIGERS:
In Baton Rouge we are getting neverous since the dooms day maps came out yesterday. I work two blocks from the river and if scernario 3 happens then i would have 10-15 feet of water at my house. They are now saying that the spillway could be opened as soon as tomorrow night.



Are you packing up to be prepared? How does one prepare for that much water???
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Here is someone that needs help. I dont see the button of images,links etc. I guess I did something wrong as they dissapeared.How do I get them back? I want to post links and images.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14923
Quoting tkeith:
Floodman would hurt himself on that PI.
;^)
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Quoting emcf30:


The Port of Houston handles the second largest amount of shipping, in tonnage, of all U.S. Ports, with only South Louisiana handling more.




You got to add the tonnage for New Orleans, Plaquemines,Baton Rouge and South Louisiana to get the tonnage affected by a change of river flow through the Atchafalaya.
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I'm not gonna argue though, it won't develop, it's already finally moving faster and out to sea. Really nice ocean storm though, good satellite shots over the last few days.
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Love the Muffulettas ...had them at some place in Covington when I was there once for work ...got to get back to those parts. If I do I'll be looking for some suggestions
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This would be bad. Very, very bad:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


Nature, in this place, had become an enemy of the state. Yes. And the enemy sometimes wins.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13806
Thanks for the great information, Jeff and the tireless work you do to keep us constantly updated on weather related events.
Watching my home town and home state closely.
I'd like to repost the John Barry quote and link to the article someone (maybe Patrap?) posted last week when we were talking about the Miss. River rising.

"Nature is perfect; engineers are not. If humans make a mistake against nature, nature will find and exploit it."

--John M. Barry from "Battling Nature on the River" essay in The Wall Street Journal 5.1.2011
Link
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Quoting jeffs713:

You should. My wife is from there, and I see NOLA as a second home. I'm sure quite a few of us can give suggestions on things to do there.


There are things to do in New Orleans??? ;-)

(Honestly, I regret that I've only been there once...what an amazing town)
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However, I can see the argument by clearly looking at the visible, this isn't warm core but it wouldn't hurt to put an invest tag on it since it has sustained popcorn storms around the center for about 72 hours now. Clearly an upper level low that is trying, which is the keyword, TRYING to work down to the surface.
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Get an oyster po'boy at Salvo's in Belle Chase,then a shrimp po'boy,and a softshell crab po'boy....can you tell it's lunch time here?..Oh yeah, got to have a muffuletta to!

Floodman would hurt himself on that PI.
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In a news conference in Baton Rouge now underway, Gov. Bobby Jindal said the Army Corps of Engineers has made it clear to him that it will order the Morganza Floodway to be opened on Saturday or on Sunday at the latest.
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Quoting beell:


From an economics viewpoint, putting the river back in its current location would be the the only alternative.
That's my opinion...

And as far as not being able to build it back, it's just a function of money. (you can figure out how to build a ladder to the moon, if you got enough money)
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In Baton Rouge we are getting neverous since the dooms day maps came out yesterday. I work two blocks from the river and if scernario 3 happens then i would have 10-15 feet of water at my house. They are now saying that the spillway could be opened as soon as tomorrow night.
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The Hybrid Low near Bermuda looks interesting with some pop up storms rolling around the broad low. Surprised the NHC hasn't mentioned it, wait.. no i'm not :P This IS the NHC we are talking about. Maybe if it was before 2005, they would mention it ;)
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The Port of Houston handles the second largest amount of shipping, in tonnage, of all U.S. Ports, with only South Louisiana handling more.




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Quoting txjac:
I love when Pat's online ...you can just "hear" the home town pride when reading his posts..makes me want to visit!

You should. My wife is from there, and I see NOLA as a second home. I'm sure quite a few of us can give suggestions on things to do there.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5891
Quoting cmahan:


I don't think it matters; the Port of Houston isn't connected to a navigable waterway that can collect/distribute barges up and down a thousand-plus-mile stretch through the middle of the country. And the rail system can't handle that much additional traffic, either.

The rail system is at capacity in the country. There just isn't enough capacity to go around.

The Port of Houston is actually deeper than the Port of NOLA, but it doesn't have the infrastructure. Containerized cargo is already largely skipping NOLA for Houston and Mobile. But bulk cargo needs a completely different level of development, and due to its low value/weight ratio, you have to get a REALLY good deal to move its infrastructure.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5891
Quoting xkcd:
Why would a failure be irreversible? It would be a massive public works project to dam the river back up and redirect it, but despite all the popular writing on the subject, I've never seen a qualified hydrological authority analyze whether it would actually be impossible.

Wouldn't spending a few billion on that re-re-routing be more likely than allowing all these disastrous (and politically harmful and specific) economic consequences?
Nothing is impossible. It is highly unfeasible, though.

There are a few factors that come into play:

1. Politics. People in the NE, or on the west coast (or anywhere away from the river, really) can't understand how important the river is to our economy. Because of that, political pressure will be extreme to *not* spend the money.
2. This would be a project of more than a "few billion". Were talking "tens of billions", on the scale of the New Deal or Manhattan Project - combined.
3. The design stage alone would take years - years in which the economy would face-plant and go to he** in a handbasket. That isn't even factoring how long it would take to actually divert the river back into its current channel.
4. Even if we DO succeed in re-diverting the river, the Mississippi can and will do whatever she darn well pleases. You can't fight physics. If it doesn't fail this year, it will fail the next record flood. Or the one after that. And if you repair it, the river will just have its way eventually.

Simply put, we are between a rock and a hard place. The hard place is the situation we've put ourselves into, with an incredible economic infrastructure right *on* the river, and the river acting as a major artery for our economy. The rock is the will of the river itself. One side of the equation can be changed. The other - you can't.

New Orleans is a vitally important city, economically and culturally. At the same time, the river is a force that we simply cannot just "bend to our will".
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5891
Quoting txjac:
How much difference, depth wise, is there between the Port of New Orleans and the Port of Houston?

Thanks


I don't think it matters; the Port of Houston isn't connected to a navigable waterway that can collect/distribute barges up and down a thousand-plus-mile stretch through the middle of the country. And the rail system can't handle that much additional traffic, either.
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Quoting xkcd:
Why would a failure be irreversible? It would be a massive public works project to dam the river back up and redirect it, but despite all the popular writing on the subject, I've never seen a qualified hydrological authority analyze whether it would actually be impossible.

Wouldn't spending a few billion on that re-re-routing be more likely than allowing all these disastrous (and politically harmful and specific) economic consequences?


From an economics viewpoint, putting the river back in its current location would be the the only alternative.
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I love when Pat's online ...you can just "hear" the home town pride when reading his posts..makes me want to visit!
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How much difference, depth wise, is there between the Port of New Orleans and the Port of Houston?

Thanks
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16. xkcd
Why would a failure be irreversible? It would be a massive public works project to dam the river back up and redirect it, but despite all the popular writing on the subject, I've never seen a qualified hydrological authority analyze whether it would actually be impossible.

Wouldn't spending a few billion on that re-re-routing be more likely than allowing all these disastrous (and politically harmful and specific) economic consequences?
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If one wants the skinny on the last,,read this and note the date.


New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize

By George Friedman

September 01, 2005 22 30 GMT


A simple way to think about the New Orleans port complex is that it
is where the bulk commodities of agriculture go out to the world and
the bulk commodities of industrialism come in. The commodity chain
of the global food industry starts here, as does that of American
industrialism. If these facilities are gone, more than the price of
goods shifts: The very physical structure of the global economy
would have to be reshaped. Consider the impact to the U.S. auto
industry if steel doesn't come up the river, or the effect on global
food supplies if U.S. corn and soybeans don't get to the markets.

The problem is that there are no good shipping alternatives. River
transport is cheap, and most of the commodities we are discussing
have low value-to-weight ratios. The U.S. transport system was built
on the assumption that these commodities would travel to and from
New Orleans by barge, where they would be loaded on ships or
offloaded. Apart from port capacity elsewhere in the United States,
there aren't enough trucks or rail cars to handle the long-distance
hauling of these enormous quantities -- assuming for the moment that
the economics could be managed, which they can't be.
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The reason the NOLA port is so Important to the US Economy,,is the DEPTH there,,thats the ALL important reason.


Large Ships can navigate the Port here and to Reserve where the Grain is Loaded/Unloaded,and all else from Fuels to materials are Barged above Baton Rouge

If we lose the River to the Atchafalaya Basin,,we lose the Deep water Port.
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The Flood Last Time: Almost Apocalypse
The Mississippi flood of 1973, which is about to be eclipsed in size and duration, came within a hair’s width of changing the history of America by changing the course of the lower Mississippi River. To understand the threat posed by the gathering flood of 2011, we need to know what happened, and what almost happened, nearly 40 years ago at the Old River Control Structure.

Article Link
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THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHICAGO HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EAST CENTRAL GRUNDY COUNTY...
WEST CENTRAL KANKAKEE COUNTY...
SOUTHWESTERN WILL COUNTY...

* UNTIL 115 PM CDT

* AT 1233 PM...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR BRACEVILLE...OR 6 MILES SOUTHWEST OF
WILMINGTON...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 25 MPH.

* THIS TORNADIC STORM WILL BE NEAR...
BRAIDWOOD...DIAMOND AND COAL CITY AROUND 1240 PM.
LAKEWOOD SHORES AROUND 1245 PM.
WILMINGTON AROUND 1250 PM.
CHANNAHON AROUND 105 PM.
ELWOOD AROUND 110 PM.
MANHATTAN AND ROCKDALE AROUND 115 PM.





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Floodwaters (right) overflow the flank of the Old River Control Structure (left foreground) during the flood of 1973
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10. Inyo
RE: End of May projections... New England does not need more rain, leave Vermont alone please. Scattered thunderstorms are OK but what we have been getting we do not want or need. Send it to Texas.
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Thank you Dr. It is truly amazing that ACOE thinks they can control this river. I hate to think of the catastrophe that awaits when their flood controls fail. Surely towns and people are in the way if the river has its way.
Member Since: March 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1532

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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.

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron