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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Best link I've found on the history of the Atchafalaya hooking into the Mississippi. HISTORY OF THE OLD RIVER AREA AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE OLD RIVER CONTROL COMPLEX (ORCC).
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6147
Quoting caribbeantracker01:
levi when will you have an update again is it soon or at the beginning of the season?


I plan on writing and/or recording a season outlook sometime between now and when the NHC puts forth their forecast on the 19th.
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Quoting hydrus:
Wow..That storm would have had to be very tall to dump hail that size so far south..


Its probably not so much how tall the storm was, but what the atmosphere was like. The air aloft was colder than normal, which explains the hail. Tropical cyclones can have thunderstorm tops over 60000 ft that never drop hail.

Thunderstorms in the tropics frequently reach towering heights that are even taller than storms that often produce huge hail in the Central U.S. The results is just even heavier rain. They produce hail in only the higher reaches of the storms, but a very large part of the storm is composed of warm and very high water content clouds, so the hail melts on the way down. Even here in Florida, I have seen storms that are supposed to have large hail cores, move right over us, but the hail all melts before making it to the surface.

Hurricane Hunters have actually encountered large hail on their missions flying into hurricanes, but it is because they are so high into the atmosphere.
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Quoting CothranRoss:


I came across that very video a day or two ago! eerie isn't it?

The Wikipedia article mentions how the Salton Sea has become a significant bird sanctuary and that there are plans to further geo-engineer it to limit further increases in salinity. That part is not mentioned in the video, still an interesting video.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6147
Quoting Levi32:
Our first tropical wave of the season:

So Levi, estimatedly we got our first tropical wave off of africa on the 13th or 12th maybe? Cuz our first wave is now in the Central atlantic.
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Quoting JRRP:

possible second wave south of CV ??
ya on average we should start to see about two maybe three per week now till late sept

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55635
levi when will you have an update again is it soon or at the beginning of the season?
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Good, Send me that link....


I have been posting since yesterday at the blog all the flood advisories,about the hail etc.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14764
Quoting bappit:
As the Mississippi River strains at its levees, the story of the Salton Sea seems appropriate. Anyone curious about its history can look it up in Wikipedia.

The creation of the Salton Sea of today started in 1905, when heavy rainfall and snowmelt caused the Colorado River to swell, overrunning a set of headgates for the Alamo Canal. The resulting flood poured down the canal and breached an Imperial Valley dike, eroding two watercourses, the New River in the west, and the Alamo River in the east, each about 60 miles (97 km) long.[6] Over a period of approximately two years these two newly created rivers sporadically carried the entire volume of the Colorado River into the Salton Sink.[7]

The Southern Pacific Railroad attempted to stop the flooding by dumping earth into the canal's headgates area, but the effort was not fast enough, and as the river eroded deeper and deeper into the dry desert sand of the Imperial Valley, a massive waterfall was created that started to cut rapidly upstream along the path of the Alamo Canal that now was occupied by the Colorado. This waterfall was initially 15 feet (4.6 m) high but grew to a height of 80 feet (24 m) before the flow through the breach was finally stopped. It was originally feared that the waterfall would recede upstream to the true main path of the Colorado, attaining a height of up to 100 to 300 feet (30 to 91 m), from where it would be practically impossible to fix the problem. As the basin filled, the town of Salton, a Southern Pacific Railroad siding and Torres-Martinez Indian land were submerged. The sudden influx of water and the lack of any drainage from the basin resulted in the formation of the Salton Sea.[8][9]

The continuing intermittent flooding of the Imperial Valley from the Colorado River led to the idea of the need for a dam on the Colorado River for flood control. Eventually, the federal government sponsored survey parties in 1922 that explored the Colorado River for a dam site, ultimately leading to the construction of Hoover Dam in Black Canyon, which was constructed beginning in 1929 and completed in 1935. The dam effectively put an end to the flooding episodes in the Imperial Valley.


After the Colorado river was reclaimed, the Salton Sea continued on a long, strange trip. I came across a good video on the outcome. As the narrator in the video reminds us: "There but for the Grace of God go the rest of us."




I came across that very video a day or two ago! eerie isn't it?
Member Since: April 16, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 112
Quoting sunlinepr:
We had yesterday a severe thunderstorm crossing the NE PR... If we had plains (we have a lot of mountains in the area), we would for sure, had a tornado... There were high winds and small hail...



Wow..That storm would have had to be very tall to dump hail that size so far south..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22294
We had yesterday a severe thunderstorm crossing the NE PR... If we had plains (we have a lot of mountains in the area), we would for sure, had a tornado... There were high winds and small hail...



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As the Mississippi River strains at its levees, the story of the Salton Sea seems appropriate. Anyone curious about its history can look it up in Wikipedia.

The creation of the Salton Sea of today started in 1905, when heavy rainfall and snowmelt caused the Colorado River to swell, overrunning a set of headgates for the Alamo Canal. The resulting flood poured down the canal and breached an Imperial Valley dike, eroding two watercourses, the New River in the west, and the Alamo River in the east, each about 60 miles (97 km) long.[6] Over a period of approximately two years these two newly created rivers sporadically carried the entire volume of the Colorado River into the Salton Sink.[7]

The Southern Pacific Railroad attempted to stop the flooding by dumping earth into the canal's headgates area, but the effort was not fast enough, and as the river eroded deeper and deeper into the dry desert sand of the Imperial Valley, a massive waterfall was created that started to cut rapidly upstream along the path of the Alamo Canal that now was occupied by the Colorado. This waterfall was initially 15 feet (4.6 m) high but grew to a height of 80 feet (24 m) before the flow through the breach was finally stopped. It was originally feared that the waterfall would recede upstream to the true main path of the Colorado, attaining a height of up to 100 to 300 feet (30 to 91 m), from where it would be practically impossible to fix the problem. As the basin filled, the town of Salton, a Southern Pacific Railroad siding and Torres-Martinez Indian land were submerged. The sudden influx of water and the lack of any drainage from the basin resulted in the formation of the Salton Sea.[8][9]

The continuing intermittent flooding of the Imperial Valley from the Colorado River led to the idea of the need for a dam on the Colorado River for flood control. Eventually, the federal government sponsored survey parties in 1922 that explored the Colorado River for a dam site, ultimately leading to the construction of Hoover Dam in Black Canyon, which was constructed beginning in 1929 and completed in 1935. The dam effectively put an end to the flooding episodes in the Imperial Valley.


After the Colorado river was reclaimed, the Salton Sea continued on a long, strange trip. I came across a good video on the outcome. As the narrator in the video reminds us: "There but for the Grace of God go the rest of us."


Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6147
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Mississippi River Flooding
This image provided by NASA Saturday May 14, 2011 and taken by an Expedition 27 crew member aboard the International Space Station May 12, 2011 clearly showing the outlines of some heavily flooded agricultural fields on the Missouri side of the Mississippi river. The center point for this frame is just north of Caruthersville, Mo. and west of Ridgely, Tenn. North is towards the lower right corner of the image.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


San Juan here.Nice to know that there are others from PR here. I have a blog for the NE Caribbean to post about our daily local weather.


Good, Send me that link....
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Caguas, PR.... that loop is from the navy webpage...


San Juan here.Nice to know that there are others from PR here. I have a blog for the NE Caribbean to post about our daily local weather.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14764
i doubt it is a coincidence the Mississippi River is having a 500 year flood one year after the gulf oil catastrophe.
it will certainly help dilute some of the oil/corexit toxins in the gulf of mexico.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Are you in Puerto Rico? That is a nice loop.


Caguas, PR.... that loop is from the navy webpage...
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Quoting TomTaylor:
LEVI

Can you give me the link to this loop over W Africa?


The individual images can be reached from the RAMSDIS directory, but the animation is the output of a bash script that I designed, so the animation doesn't exist as a link.



^There is another weak bulge in the ITCZ over western Africa at 8W-10W, but it is likely too weakly-defined to be declared a tropical wave by the NHC.
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These animations can be generated from http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil

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Quoting Skyepony:


Got to add CMC at 108hrs..

Hmmmmm....Duration May 15 %u2013 May 23-1951-
Intensity 115 mph (185 km/h) (1-min), 980 mbar (hPa)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22294
Quoting sunlinepr:


Are you in Puerto Rico? That is a nice loop.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14764
The wave is seen on the far right of the animation below. It is very far south.

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To add to and/or expand upon what else has been said here today in regards to the situation at Fukushima:

TEPCO acknowledges that the cores of reactors 1, 2, & 3 likely all melted down shortly after the earthquake/tsunami, reaching over 5,000 degrees, and leading to melt-through breaches of all three pressure vessels. Tens of thousands of tons of water have been pumped onto and into the reactors since then, and while this has helped prevent full-scale meltdowns--where the molten glowing blobs o'death worked their way downward through the containment structures--it's also led to the pooling and leaking of all that water, making it nearly impossible for workers to get close enough to do anything.

On Friday, a robot found the highest radiation levels yet since the catastrophe began, with readings up to 2,000 millisieverts per hour in some parts of Unit #1. As the limit for workers is 250 millisieverts per year, a worker would receive his or her annual dose limit in roughly five minutes. This, obviously, complicates mitigation efforts.

TEPCO's plan had been to have things stabilised by early June, and completely cleaned up by Thanksgiving or so. But the situation, while not as bad as it could be, is far worse than thought, so the plan to simply cool things off with water until they could be handled has been scrapped. The latest plan will likely involve recirculating the highly-radioactive water through decontamination filters and back into the reactors. At any rate, TEPCO claims they will still be able to meet their deadline.

Yeah, maybe that will work. At the very least, it's reassuring to know that the triple meltdown is being answered by guesswork and lots of trial and error; TEPCO was obviously very well prepared for such an eventuality.

Wall Street Journal
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Our first tropical wave of the season:

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So 12 May is the day of first TWave in 2011.Yes!!!
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Quoting Chicklit:
brla61, i get that. especially since they did not plan to open more than one bay yesterday.


Don't mean to keep beating a dead horse. But not even a cheetah can outrun dat water.... thanks for responding
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Quoting hydrus:
On the first day of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season. Maybe we will do that some day. South Florida got a nice drenching....


A lot of rain here in Central Florida this weekend too, there was lots of minor damage from severe thunderstorms gusts around the area yesterday from tree branches down, power lines and traffic lights out as well. We picked up almost 2 inches as well so it was a very nice system.
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Quoting Gearsts:
Como tu pones loops the de mapas?

De cuales de ellos? Los de http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil??

From where? The navy webpage??
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brla61, i get that. especially since they did not plan to open more than one bay yesterday.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11410
Quoting sunlinepr:
Como tu pones loops the de mapas?
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Quoting Chicklit:
The original plan was to open one gate yesterday and two today.


Sorry my mistake.In my original post, I think I said one today. They opened two on yesterday and plan to open two today. Just seems to be moving too fast for me
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Alas!
...TROPICAL WAVE...

THE FIRST TROPICAL WAVE HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED IN THE EASTERN
TROPICAL ATLC EMBEDDED IN THE ITCZ ...OFF THE COASTAL WATERS OF
NE BRAZIL WITH AXIS ANALYZED FROM 7N38W TO 2N42W. THE WAVE IS
DRIFTING WEST AT ABOUT 5 KT. THIS WAVE SHOWS UP WELL AS A LOW
AMPLITUDE MOISTURE SURGE ON TOTAL PRECIPITABLE WATER IMAGE AND
SATELLITE DERIVED WINDS...AND HAS GOOD CONTINUITY ON SATELLITE
DATA WITH THE WAVE EMERGING FROM WEST AFRICA ON MAY 12. THE MOST
RECENT WINDSAT PASS REVEALS THIS WAVE LACKS OF CYCLONIC
CURVATURE...WITH NE WINDS UP TO 20 KT SURROUNDING THE WAVE AXIS.
VERY WEAK CONVECTION ASSOCIATED TO THIS SYSTEM CONTINUES TO BE
EMBEDDED IN THE ITCZ.


yep finally!!!!!
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The original plan was to open one gate yesterday and two today.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11410
Very credible - (this news source) ....

Worker Dies at Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant
TOYKO-(ENEWSPF)-May 2011. A spokesperson for the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported that at about 6:50 AM on May14th, 2011, a worker of a sub-contractor became seriously ill while working on the drainage treatment system in the Centralized Environment Facility of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The Centralized Environment Facility is the facility which treats radioactive waste generated by the nuclear power station.

The worker was carried to a doctor's room of the power station at 7:03 AM and had medical treatment where he subsequently lost consciousness and stopped self-breathing. At 8:35 AM, he was carried to Sogo Iwaki Kyoritsu Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

For reference, it was found that radioactive substances were not attached to the worker.

Source: tepco.co
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Okay. I'm a little confused about this statement. They are opening them so quickly, and the river is rising faster? Doesn't that answer itself? I'm so confuuuused.
The plan was to open one, let that water come up some, then open others for two basic reasons: to give animals a chance to get out of the area with a gradual rise in water instead of a surge; and to get water behind the spillway so when the next gates were opened there wouldn't be as much turbulence which could actually undermine and weaken the downstream side, thus creating a potential disaster if it caused part of it to collapse.


Thank you Pcola, I realized how crazy the question sounded after posting.lol It just the nerves here. I just thought they were going to wait until today to open the second gate.
Just sitting here in Baton Rouge praying for the best best and preparing for the worst. I have friends in Pierre part, La too.
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Alas!
...TROPICAL WAVE...

THE FIRST TROPICAL WAVE HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED IN THE EASTERN
TROPICAL ATLC EMBEDDED IN THE ITCZ ...OFF THE COASTAL WATERS OF
NE BRAZIL WITH AXIS ANALYZED FROM 7N38W TO 2N42W. THE WAVE IS
DRIFTING WEST AT ABOUT 5 KT. THIS WAVE SHOWS UP WELL AS A LOW
AMPLITUDE MOISTURE SURGE ON TOTAL PRECIPITABLE WATER IMAGE AND
SATELLITE DERIVED WINDS...AND HAS GOOD CONTINUITY ON SATELLITE
DATA WITH THE WAVE EMERGING FROM WEST AFRICA ON MAY 12. THE MOST
RECENT WINDSAT PASS REVEALS THIS WAVE LACKS OF CYCLONIC
CURVATURE...WITH NE WINDS UP TO 20 KT SURROUNDING THE WAVE AXIS.
VERY WEAK CONVECTION ASSOCIATED TO THIS SYSTEM CONTINUES TO BE
EMBEDDED IN THE ITCZ.
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Quoting brla61:


Can someone please explain why they are opening these gates so quickly? It seems the river stage at Baton rouge is creeping up faster than initially predicted. Just a little too close for comfort for me..


Okay. I'm a little confused about this statement. They are opening them so quickly, and the river is rising faster? Doesn't that answer itself? I'm so confuuuused.
The plan was to open one, let that water come up some, then open others for two basic reasons: to give animals a chance to get out of the area with a gradual rise in water instead of a surge; and to get water behind the spillway so when the next gates were opened there wouldn't be as much turbulence which could actually undermine and weaken the downstream side, thus creating a potential disaster if it caused part of it to collapse.
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618. txjac
Good luck with getting that rain Baha ...got my fingers crossed for you
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Quoting Levi32:
A decent disturbance in the African Easterly Jet is currently along ~4W, but likely not well-enough defined to be analyzed as a tropical wave by the NHC.

LEVI

Can you give me the link to this loop over W Africa?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
wwltv.com

MORGANZA SPILLWAY, La. – Two more massive steel gates at the Morganza spillway were opened Sunday morning to ease pressure on the Mississippi River levees in south Louisiana, sending more water flowing into and further flooding the Atchafalaya Basin.

Around 9 a.m., crews from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened two more of the multi-ton gates, a day after opening two bays, bringing the total of four at the spillway 310 miles from New Orleans.



Can someone please explain why they are opening these gates so quickly? It seems the river stage at Baton rouge is creeping up faster than initially predicted. Just a little too close for comfort for me..
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Afternoon all.

I'm admiring all the # of inches posts and hoping by tonight I will have reason to be whoo hooing and celebrating my own rainfall. [hopefully that will mean I don't have to clean the car.... lol]

Also quite exciting to see that first TWO and the T-wave in the ATL.

I'm thinking we may not get a June named storm [last year we had 1, right?] but I expect we'll see a fair amount of T-wave action before July.

Looking forward to the next round of forecasts. Does anybody think the big names will increase their numbers?
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With the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season beginning today, here are the names:
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wwltv.com

MORGANZA SPILLWAY, La. – Two more massive steel gates at the Morganza spillway were opened Sunday morning to ease pressure on the Mississippi River levees in south Louisiana, sending more water flowing into and further flooding the Atchafalaya Basin.

Around 9 a.m., crews from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened two more of the multi-ton gates, a day after opening two bays, bringing the total of four at the spillway 310 miles from New Orleans.

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612. txjac
Wish that there was some way to divert some of that water to Houston! We need it in a bad way.

My daughter and I walk the bayou about a mile from where we live a couple times a week. We go to feed about 50 turtles that hang out there ...it's getting pretty shallow
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Flooding the Gulf with fresh water is not a good thing. Oyster reefs and the like are salt water fellows. Also the other aquatic life that hangs out on these reefs don't dig fresh water either. We are doing well on the Gulf now without the fresh water clean up. Our fishing and crabbing and oystering is fantastic this spring, Come on down !
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Federal authorities have announced plans to open two more gates of Louisiana's Morganza Floodway, increasing the diversion of Mississippi River water that will flood rural areas along the Atchafalaya River basin, while easing flood threats to Baton Rouge and, New Orleans.

The first two massive Morganza gates were opened Saturday. The Army Corps of Engineers said two more gates would be opened Sunday.

http://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2011/05 /mississippi_river_flood_spurs.html
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609. txjac
Quoting plages:
Not wanting anyone becoming hurt, or their property damaged, but this flooding might just be a wondrous thing for the gulf, in as much as it might flush the gulf of the BP oil mismanagement?


Funny that you should mention that. I was thinking the same thing yesterday.

However my heart and prayers go out to those being impacted with the flooding
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Not wanting anyone becoming hurt, or their property damaged, but this flooding might just be a wondrous thing for the gulf, in as much as it might flush the gulf of the BP oil mismanagement?
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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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