Mississippi River flood of 2011 sets all-time flow record, but has crested

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:43 PM GMT on May 20, 2011

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The great Mississippi River flood of 2011 crested yesterday and today, and the volume of water being pushed toward the Gulf of Mexico is the largest ever recorded on the Mississippi, said Bob Anderson, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers for the Mississippi Valley Division. "It's never been this high; it's never had this much water," he said. "There's just a tremendous amount of strain on these levees." The Mississippi crested yesterday at Vicksburg, Mississippi, reaching 57.06'. This exceeded the previous all-time record of 56.2', set during the great flood of 1927. The river crested at Natchez, Mississippi early this morning, and is now falling. The flood height at Natchez was also the greatest on record--61.91', nearly three feet higher than the previous record height of 58', set in 1937. The opening of the Morganza Spillway on Saturday helped to reduce the flood heights from Vicksburg to New Orleans by 1 - 3 feet, greatly reducing the pressure on the levees and on the critical Old River Control Structure (which, as I discussed last Friday, is America's Achilles' heel, and must be protected.) According the National Weather Service, the Mississippi River is no longer rising anywhere along its length, and the great flood of 2011 has likely seen its peak. Rainfall over the next five days will not be enough to raise the Mississippi River water levels above the crests recorded yesterday and today. While it is great news that the flood has peaked, and the Old River Control Structure and all of the mainline levees on the Mississippi River have held, the fight is not over yet. Water levels will stay high for many weeks, and these structures will take a sustained pounding that could still cause failures. If another incredible heavy rain event like we experienced in mid-April occurs in June, the levee system and Old River Control Structure will threatened. Let's hope we don't have an early season Gulf of Mexico tropical storm that makes landfall over Louisiana. The latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model is not hinting at anything like this, fortunately. It's a good thing (for the sake of the levees) that Louisiana experienced severe drought over the winter and spring--had the water levels been high throughout winter and spring, like occurred in the run-up to the great 1927 flood, the levees would have been soggy and much more vulnerable to failure once the big flood crest hit.


Figure 1. The flow of the Mississippi River past the Old River Control Structure near Simmesport, Louisiana reached its all-time highest volume on record Thursday, when the flow rate hit 2.3 million cubic feet per second (cfs). The flow of Niagara Falls at normal water levels is 100,000 cfs, so the Mississippi's flow was 23 times that of Niagara Falls. Image credit: Army Corps of Engineers.

Recommended reading
My post on the Old River Control Structure, America's Achilles' heel: the Mississippi River Old River Control Structure, is well worth reading, if you haven't done so. I plan on making a follow-up post next week discussing the economic cost of the failure of this critical flood-control structure.

Our weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has made a very interesting post on the greatest floods to affect each continent.


Figure 2. Track forecast for Tropical Storm Four.

First typhoon of 2011 coming?
In the Northwest Pacific, Tropical Storm Four has formed, and appears poised to become the first typhoon of 2011 by early next week. The storm is expected to head west-northwest or northwest towards the Philippines. While the GFS model predicts Tropical Storm Four will miss the Philippines and recurve northwards towards Japan late next week, it is too early to be confident of this forecast.

Have a great weekend everyone, and I'll be back Monday with a new post.

Jeff Masters

In Bound (minou)
Chances of over-topping Baton Rouge or Port Allen levees are slim to none. Problems with this volume continuing for 2 weeks or longer is the question of whether the levees will stand the test of pressure. Thank goodness we've been in a drought or else the levees would be mushy inside and out! The Hwy. 190 Bridge in the distance was closed the day before this photo due to a run-away barge that struck the base.
In Bound
High Water at Baton Rouge (cmrbg06)
High Water at Baton Rouge
High Water at Baton Rouge

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Quoting pottery:
Post 518.
I do not know the story of that image of the kids saying their prayers.
But here in the Caribbean all children in all schools say prayers at assembly in the morning, every morning.
Those kids dont look traumatised or crippled by fear to me.
Some look a little bored, yes. Understandable.

Also, the kids in Jamaica probably have no idea about the Rap., and couldnt give a Hoot.
They are generally much too sensible for that kind of foolishness.


Actually we had one of Camping followers on TVJ scarcing the crap out of alot of stupid people. One pastor reported that he had people requesting "EMERGENCY BAPTISMS". (rolling my eyes)

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First Invest of the season could be coming soon in the Caribbean. Shear is really forecast to drop considerably.



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755. xcool

GOES EAST
NASA

The long-lived storm which has plagued Appalachia and the Eastern Seaboard has finally moved offshore and should continue to slide northeastward into the open Atlantic Ocean over the next 48 to 72 hours. Our attention now turns to the tropics; see the LONGER TERM FORECAST for potential impacts. A TUTT signature over the lower Sargasso Sea has a small window for warm-core cyclogenesis before its center moves into the deeper reaches of the cold waters west of the Azores. Note the ITCZ along the northern coastline of South America and the two singular impulses in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands and Sierra Leone. I am of the opinion that our first serious threat for tropical cyclone development may be as little as 10 to 15 days from now

Larry Cosgrove
by


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Earthquakes List Worldwide 5M+
Link
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1492
Quoting Grothar:


Ingen årsak. Look at post 696.

ooops.
Missed that!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24230
Considering how well the folks on this blog did the last 2 years, I offer the contest again on my blog. If we meet the participation needs, I will be looking for someone to do the nice graphics from the database provided again :)

Click the Handle to go there.

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Quoting jasonweatherman2010:
my god look at this!!


Thanks jason. Just what I was looking for before. I don't know how it can be a CAT 4 with waters that cold to it's North. Perhaps before it reaches the colder waters.
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Quoting RTLSNK:


Welcome back, and experience is not always a kind teacher. :)


SNAKE!!!
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53506
Quoting RukusBoondocks:
MAY THE MIGHTY TWO TONES BE WITH US THIS SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Can you translate for us city folks
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Quoting Grothar:


What do you mean think? That is from experience. :)


Welcome back, and experience is not always a kind teacher. :)
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Quoting pottery:

LOL, Good One.
I have not seen the good Lady in question on here for a while.
Give her my regards when you next write.
Tussen tak.


Ingen årsak. Look at post 696.
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Quoting RukusBoondocks:
MAY THE MIGHTY TWO TONES BE WITH US THIS SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I dont follow....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24230
Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential, Northwest Pacific Fields
Date: May 20 2011

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Looks like a Van Gogh sunflower.

Looks like it only has one ear, too.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24230
MAY THE MIGHTY TWO TONES BE WITH US THIS SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting Patrap:
Ooofh,

Songda Rainbow Image

Looks like a Van Gogh sunflower.
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Quoting Patrap:
Ooofh,

Songda Rainbow Image



I can't find the SST's for that part of the Pacific. I posted an image earlier that stated it is going to be a Cat 4, but I couldn't find out what their thinking is.
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Quoting Grothar:


My brain works fine. It is the rest of me that is slowly disintegrating over the centuries. George Washington did tell me to take better care of my teeth though. taistelutipu and I often write to each other in Swedish, Norwegian or German. I believe she speaks a few more languages than I. Very bright lady.

LOL, Good One.
I have not seen the good Lady in question on here for a while.
Give her my regards when you next write.
Tussen tak.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24230
Quoting pottery:

As a natural consequence of Evolution, we normal people have dropped huge amounts of our brain-cells, often some important ones but generally to make room for other sensory attributes.

You, on the other hand, have the advantage of remaining with your Pre Hominid brain structure, because evolution can only happen through constant regeneration.

That's how come you know all that strange stuff.
Permanent Presence short-circuits the entire evolutionary process.

heheheheh


My brain works fine. It is the rest of me that is slowly disintegrating over the centuries. George Washington did tell me to take better care of my teeth though. taistelutipu and I often write to each other in Swedish, Norwegian or German. I believe she speaks a few more languages than I. Very bright lady.
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Quoting DARPAsockpuppet:

That's Hysterical!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24230
Quoting presslord:
Gro and Shen...great minds think alike...


What do you mean think? That is from experience. :)
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Quoting pottery:

Hard to say.
Depends on what the wife wants done.


Now thats funny, good one pot
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Quoting pottery:

Hard to say.
Depends on what the wife wants done.


i have to agree with u there...lol
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Ooofh,

Songda Rainbow Image

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Quoting pottery:

Hard to say.
Depends on what the wife wants done.


You deserve a big star for that line!!! Still laughing.
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Quoting DARPAsockpuppet:


What the heck
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Quoting FirstCoastMan:
Do ya'll think both june and july will be active,or just one of those months?

Hard to say.
Depends on what the wife wants done.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24230
Gro and Shen...great minds think alike...
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
That's me a day late and a dollar short. It was a relatively dry winter but a green spring.
Profound!
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Deep too.
That's me a day late and a dollar short. It was a relatively dry winter but a green spring.
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Do ya'll think both june and july will be active,or just one of those months?
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720. beell
Quoting P451:


Rofl. We are all doom. DOOM. Oh, and, buy our paper. Please?



fer sure, although I think that was some overzealous editorializing on the part of the poster not the paper.
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Quoting Patrap:
That river water is cold,..am going to get some Levee and Bridge River Images in the morning here.
Deep too.
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Quoting Grothar:


It's funny, I have no trouble spelling those words.


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Quoting Grothar:


It's funny, I have no trouble spelling those words.

As a natural consequence of Evolution, we normal people have dropped huge amounts of our brain-cells, often some important ones but generally to make room for other sensory attributes.

You, on the other hand, have the advantage of remaining with your Pre Hominid brain structure, because evolution can only happen through constant regeneration.

That's how come you know all that strange stuff.
Permanent Presence short-circuits the entire evolutionary process.

heheheheh
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24230
English majors and anthropologist everywhere, LoL


Almost like lawyers seems.
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....Hey, Abbott!!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Quoting presslord:


...deep, too....



LOL!
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Quoting Patrap:
That river water is cold,..am going to get some Levee and Bridge River Images in the morning here.


...deep, too....
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Ah c'mon, where's your sense of adventure? Just copy and paste them into Google Translate (make sure you pick Icelandic, "detect language" might pick Swedish or Norwegian, then listen to the pronunciation. After about 1000 times of listening... well you get the picture. Piece of cake.


It's funny, I have no trouble spelling those words.
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Quoting Cotillion:
Different view of the volcano: satellite picture of the volcanic eruption in Iceland (start around 2200):

Link

--

The last eruption in 2004 was a VEI3 - as this ash cloud is now approaching around 20km upwards and is apparently bigger than the last one, it could be a VEI4. The last newsworthy Icelandic eruption was of the same magnitude (the disruption was due to 'different' ash particles than what this volcano emits, supposedly).

Therefore, this may have been its strongest eruption for around a 100 years or so.


Another view I just saw. Doesn't have the 2200 time frame, but still shows up.

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That river water is cold,..am going to get some Levee and Bridge River Images in the morning here.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Here n Ohio wetseason is all weve had 4 3 months
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Quoting P451:


Or perhaps business as usual on mother earth.

;)


How ya doing, pot?


Doing pretty good.
A few showers this afternoon, and looks like some more later.
It's been a green dryseason.
Waiting to see what the wetseason has in store for us.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24230

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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.