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 aquak9:
I'm here too, Gams.

can someone plrase tell me if my post 595 worked? I'm at work and all I can see is a red x


It's a very nice red X.
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606. beell
Quoting blsealevel:
What is the price for millions of lives and property?
answer "20 Barges of corn"


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A five-mile stretch of the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge remained closed a day after an accident on the high, fast-moving waterway resulted in the sinking of three barges.

The river was closed while officials assessed whether the barges posed a navigation hazard. The Coast Guard said Saturday that plans for salvaging the vessels were being made but it was unclear when the salvage operation would begin. No injuries or pollution were reported.

The sunken barges were carrying corn. They were part of a 20-barge tow that was being pushed downriver Friday at a time when high water and fast current have made navigation difficult. One of the barges struck a dock, two struck the U.S. Highway 190 bridge and three sank.


Millions of lives?
what?
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 141 Comments: 16204
I'm here too, Gams.

can someone plrase tell me if my post 595 worked? I'm at work and all I can see is a red x
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25729
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Hi Everyone,

Are all the folks still present and accounted for???
It is 6:10pm in my time zone and I'm still here!!!!!


Hope you are all having a great weekend, sure a lot of us could use a little rain...but rain will come soon.

Enjoy!
Gams
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What is the price for millions of lives and property?
answer "20 Barges of corn"

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A five-mile stretch of the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge remained closed a day after an accident on the high, fast-moving waterway resulted in the sinking of three barges.

The river was closed while officials assessed whether the barges posed a navigation hazard. The Coast Guard said Saturday that plans for salvaging the vessels were being made but it was unclear when the salvage operation would begin. No injuries or pollution were reported.

The sunken barges were carrying corn. They were part of a 20-barge tow that was being pushed downriver Friday at a time when high water and fast current have made navigation difficult. One of the barges struck a dock, two struck the U.S. Highway 190 bridge and three sank.
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601. SLU
Now gone past 6pm Saturday at my location .........

It's not the end of the world when doomsday prophets get it wrong.
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Mississippi River flooding victims turn to refuge set up for Hurricane Katrina evacuees

IMMESPORT – Just as Tonya Nelson was finally about to close the long and arduous chapter of her life dominated by Hurricane Katrina, the past week has been like a flashback to late August 2005.

Flood Evacuees Living in Canadaville



Until recently, the former Jefferson Parish resident had been one of just a few people still living in a village of 50 trailers set up by a Canadian philanthropist for residents displaced by Katrina.

Dubbed Canadaville by its inhabitants, the trailer park was scheduled to close May 31, prompting Nelson to make plans to move to Kenner.

But with another great flood threatening to strike the region, the park has taken in a new wave of evacuees. More than 100 people fleeing potential flooding in the Morganza Floodway are being housed in 30 trailers at the park just south of Simmesport and 60 miles northwest of Baton Rouge.

“In some ways, it’s like Katrina all over again,” said Nelson, who moved from Jefferson to Pass Christian, Miss., shortly before Katrina and lost her home two blocks from the beach. “To see the emotion of these people who are so upset and so worried about the future reminds me of myself.”

Community has come back to life

Frank Stronach, the Canadian auto parts mogul who opened the $12 million, 900-acre park in December 2005 is in talks to sell or lease it to a private for-profit entity, said Nelson, who is the executive assistant to the park manager. She said the floodway evacuees have been told they can stay rent-free until June 30.



“This place was like a ghost town, but now it’s kind of come back to life to serve another purpose,” Nelson said.

A group of children chased dogs and rode their bikes in the street in front of three homes occupied by an extended family from the Marksville area.

Angel Jemello said the three households packed up everything they owned when the Army Corps of Engineers released maps projecting up to 5 feet of flooding in their community. For the first time since 1973, the corps opened the spillway a week ago to divert water from the swollen Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya basin, reducing pressure on levees in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

“We’re worried about our homes, but it’s so peaceful here that it’s really helping us cope,” said Jemello, 23, who evacuated with her three children and fiancé. “We live on a highway, and the kids have a lot more room to play here.”

Jemello’s daughter, Briana, 6, and two other girls played with two small mixed-breed dogs named Oreo and Chico. Her oldest son, Darrius, 5, and another boy played a rambunctious game of telephone, hollering at one another through a 20-foot-long drainage pipe under a driveway.

“I told you to be quiet!” yelled Darrius.

“You be quiet!” retorted 6-year-old Jacob Michout.

“Come over and make me,” Darrius said, instigating a wrestling match as Jacob took him up on the challenge.

A peaceful haven

With its well-manicured lawns and cul-de-sacs, the park looks more like a middle-class subdivision than a typical FEMA trailer park.

Surrounded by farmland, the park’s entrance features a vast lawn punctuated with 20 stately live oaks.

The tidy trailers, which have large wooden porches on the front and back, sit on spacious lots. Each 1,400-square-foot trailer has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a Jacuzzi, a full kitchen, a washer and a dryer.

Angel Jemello said the tranquil setting has helped her 3-year-old son Demorian, who has autism.

“He usually gets aggravated and frustrated when things change, but he’s doing pretty well here,” she said. “He’s definitely doing better than if we were all crammed in a motel room somewhere.”

Bobby Sherman, 47, said he is amazed by the accommodations.

“I just can’t say enough about how grateful we are,” said Sherman, a disabled welder who evacuated his Marksville home four days ago with his fiancée and 6-year-old daughter. “It makes it easier to deal with all the uncertainty about our homes.”

The park housed more than 500 people displaced by Katrina. Residents were required to show that they were seeking work or had gone back to school. Many worked at the community farm, growing vegetables and raising livestock.

Perhaps, a new start

Jemello, a certified nursing assistant who recently lost her job, said she was told the Morganza Floodway evacuees may be able to rent their trailers after June 30. She said her family of five has been living with her parents and could use some more space.

“I’ve been wanting a new start for a while, and it looks like I might finally get it,” she said. “I’m not saying the flood is a good thing, but I believe it happened for a reason.”

Nelson, a former call center manager for Oreck vacuum cleaners, arrived in Canadaville a year after Katrina. The company had transferred her to a call center in Pass Christian shortly before Katrina.

“If I had stayed in Jefferson, my house would have been fine. But I’m not bitter, because this place has been a blessing for me,” said Nelson, who plans to move to Kenner after June 30 to manage a new Oreck call center there.

While Nelson said the influx of evacuees has brought back painful memories of Katrina’s devastation, she’s hopeful history won’t repeat itself.

“It looks like it’s not going to be anywhere near as bad as Katrina was,” she said. “It looks like they’re going to be more fortunate than we were.”

•••••••

Paul Rioux can be reached at prioux@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3785.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
Ash overtaking the road.
(top row of images)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting PcolaDan:
Did you watch the time lapse of the IR? You can really see it well.
(Yes, I belong to bigthink/eruptions.)


Also here, watch at the 21 mark. You can see it clearly.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Link
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hope it works out for them.

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(hops in the roller-coaster seat next to Keeper)

Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25729
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Quoting cycleranger:
Did you watch the time lapse of the IR? You can really see it well.
(Yes, I belong to bigthink/eruptions.)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Member Since: May 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 429
Quoting PcolaDan:




Yes, looks to be putting on an impressive show. As well as causing headaches for those that need to fly around the island.

Plume appearing from our mechanical friends in space. Also a few pics of the eruption & plume via bigthink.com blogs, for the interested.

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Quoting SQUAWK:


I have the Kool Aid ready if anyone wants some.


:) And what just sort of Kool Aid is this??
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
So...anybody still waiting for the rapture expected in 42 minutes?


Waiting on Preakness instead, 107 minutes. :)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
So...anybody still waiting for the rapture expected in 42 minutes?


I have the Kool Aid ready if anyone wants some.
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So...anybody still waiting for the rapture expected in 42 minutes?
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Quoting cycleranger:
Afternoon.

For a slow weather day. I think this would become a hot topic for a bit. Ash plumes are visible thousands of feet in the air as well. Can't wait for video of this event!

Been watching it at the Eruptions blog.

The ash cloud has now gone up to 10 km (jet flight altitude). All air traffic is forbidden for now 120 miles around the Grmsfjall volcano.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
oh no!


Link
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Afternoon.

For a slow weather day. I think this would become a hot topic for a bit. Ash plumes are visible thousands of feet in the air as well. Can't wait for video of this event!

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..all my friends, like the "Low Pressure",

the Low, press-ure,gets a a lil lower"
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
Foreca products are clearly showing that TS Four is strengthening,with peak winds of 50-55 mph.
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578. xcool
;0
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Post 573

Compared to the Caymans deficit of rainfall in past months,here in PR,we started 2011 very slow on rainfall, but right now,it's above normal for the year,thanks to a very wet May that we haved been thru.Hopefully,things start to moist very soon in the Western Caribbean.
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576. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
China Meteorological Administration

** WTPQ20 BABJ 211800 ***
SUBJECTIVE FORECAST
TS SONGDA 1102 (1102) INITIAL TIME 211800 UTC
00HR 9.4N 137.4E 1000HPA 18M/S (35 knots)
30KTS 160KM
P12HR WNW 15KM/H
P+24HR 10.9N 134.2E 990HPA 23M/S (45 knots)
P+48HR 11.8N 132.0E 975HPA 30M/S (60 knots)
P+72HR 13.3N 129.7E 965HPA 38M/S (75 knots)
P+96HR 15.0N 128.0E 955HPA 42M/S (85 knots)
P+120HR 17.2N 126.0E 940HPA 50M/S (100 knots)
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Have to run out now. Will catch up later
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Post 572

Too far out in time but interesting from the perspective of the GFS seeing a continuation of low surface pressures that have been evident for the past several weeks now.
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Here is an excerpt from a news item in the local paper this month quoting our chief met.

The local weather service appears to have records going back 54 years but I have not found an online link to them. Looks like I will have to call them up next week and ask for a print out or download.

Very interesting though how severely dry November 2010 to the present has been.

"The 2010/11 dry season has been especially hard as the usually reliable rainfall totals in November were significantly below average. A rainfall total of 1.06 inches was recorded for November 2010 as compared to the expected 6.63 inches,” Mr. Tibbetts said, nothing that the rainfall total for November 2010 was the second-lowest since 1957 when recordings began.

The low rainfall totals in November started a run of six consecutive months of below-average rainfall. April saw only 0.18 inches of rain, well below the average rainfall for the month of 1.68 inches.

Adding the deficits of recorded rainfall over the past six months, Grand Cayman has had

10.96 inches less than would have been expected normally."

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572. xcool


12z.gfs
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571. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #11
TROPICAL STORM SONGDA (T1102)
3:00 AM JST May 22 2011
==================================

SUBJECT: Category One Typhoon Near Caroline Island

At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Storm Songda (998 hPa) located at 9.4N 137.5E has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northwest slowly.

Gale Force Winds
===============
90 NM from the center

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5

Forecast And Intensity
=======================
24 HRS: 10.3N 134.7E - 40 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)
48 HRS: 11.1N 132.9E - 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm)
72 HRS: 12.3N 131.0E - 70 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon)

From Tiyan Guam
=================
A Tropical Storm Warning is now in effect for Yap Island and for Ngulu Island of Yap
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Doing some digging. Back in a while
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been waiting a long time



and now its NOV 30th
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114710
hurricane seasone is this a few days a way
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114710
Looks like the NOGAPS is thinking Caribbean also. Link

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JMA just upgraded to Tropical Storm Songda.

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Im researching a Crown Roast,at 325F at the moment. Im awaiting the results,,patiently.

LoL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
Quoting kmanislander:
Post 554

Hi Levi

An interesting observation. I will try to unearth some local rainfall statistics going back as far as I can and post them


Hey Kman. Those would be interesting to see.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
Quoting kmanislander:
Post 554

Hi Levi

An interesting observation. I will try to unearth some local rainfall statistics going back as far as I can and post them
Will be interesting to see that, and to try to forecast what is to come.
Looking forward to you Research!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24022
Quoting hurricane23:
Anything beyond 5 days is a stretch...at best. I wouldn't worry about the long-range forecast beyond 10 days. That's fantasy land...plus it is out of phase with the MJO. The next MJO pulse won't come across the Caribbean until the 3rd week or so of June.



Hey there "killer," good to see you.
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The tropical storm may make landfall west of Tokyo in the Japanese island of Honshu as a high-end category two extratropical typhoon after being sustained in the warm Kuroshio current and moderate shear conditions.



Anyone else see a convective two-storm convergence scenario setting up over south central Ontario as thunderstorms ahead of a warm front of the western low track toward other thunderstorms from the departing retrograding low that has affected the Northeast with too much rain over the past week while currently the area is receiving ample lake breeze convergence from Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Georgian Bay, all in a high-shear and elevated-vorticity zone?
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Quoting hurricane23:
Anything beyond 5 days is a stretch...at best. I wouldn't worry about the long-range forecast beyond 10 days. That's fantasy land...plus it is ou tof phase with the MJO. The next MJO pulse won't come across the Caribbean until the 3rd week or so of June.



I disagree. You are assuming a well-behaved MJO of 40-day wave-lengths. That is not so. The models are bending the MJO right back into Atlantic octants within the next two weeks, perhaps because of the impressively warm water there. It is a weaker signal for now, but it's not way out in the Pacific allowing sinking air to rule the Atlantic, and the next upward motion pulse won't wait 5 weeks in this pattern.

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Post 554

Hi Levi

An interesting observation. I will try to unearth some local rainfall statistics going back as far as I can and post them
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Anything beyond 5 days is a stretch...at best. I wouldn't worry about the long-range forecast beyond 10 days. That's fantasy land...plus it is out of phase with the MJO. The next MJO pulse won't come across the Caribbean until the 3rd week or so of June.

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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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