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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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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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Maybe not in the Caribbean, but there is still a chance for a system in the ATL near Bermuda before June 1st, some models have been hinting at lower pressures there.


Nothing out there now though to suggest anything imminent and only 10 days to go. In past years the SW Caribbean was always very active in terms of heavy convection from early to mid May but not so this year.
In fact rainfall levels in the NW Caribbean have been at deficit levels not seen in 30 years.

Not sure what, if anything, that means for this season but one day when I have a couple of hours to spare I will look back for analog years re low rainfall numbers since November of the previous year and see if there has been any correlation to TC activity in the season that followed.
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The heavens have opened up and is letting down rivers of
living water as I type. Finally some rain after months of drought.
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Quoting kmanislander:
GFS on the 29th May showing deep moisture accumulations returning to the W and SW Caribbean.No pre June 1st system on the cards this year it would seem and perhaps no June system either unless things crank up in a hurry from the very dry conditions that have prevailed in this area for weeks.



I don't think any conclusions can yet be drawn about June. A dry atmosphere is easily reversed when the tropics start marching northward.

What's interesting is that the dry western Caribbean implies cool air aloft and thus troughing at ~200mb. That troughing suggests that eastern U.S. longwaves are prone to trough-splitting (which they already have been doing). This means that the upper troughing in the vicinity of the NW Caribbean is likely to stick around until the ITCZ really tries to nose itself into the Caribbean during the course of the first half of June, at which point the cold pocket will be shoved farther north. But at the same time this upper trough will be ventilating the Caribbean as it retreats, providing favorable conditions for tropical mischief once enough heat finally builds up in the upper atmosphere of the southern Caribbean and pushes northward. Ironically, that dry trough could end up aiding the first tropical development of the year.
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Quoting Patrap:


People have this thing called "free Will",and no one has forced them to believe anything other than themselves in this situation.

Folks live in Hurricane prone areas and some choose to ignore preparation suggestions and find themselves scrambling at the last moment in a panic to get out or get ready.

The delusional thread of thinking is not just confined to the Religious world.



Yeah you're right there. I know about free will. It's the ring tone on my cell phone. :)

Meanwhile this morning's discussion wasn't too optimistic about things changing. But I think the 12z Euro Linkshows maybe some rain around here. Hope so for TX anyway.

THE DROUGHT CONTINUES WITH NO REAL RELIEF EXPECTED. FLOODING
CONTINUES IN THE ATCHAFALAYA RIVER BASIN.CHECK OUR WEBSITE AT
WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/LCH FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Very true. The passing of the rapture will hopefully coincide with a pick up in weather activity LOL

Barefootontherocks has a great blog going, on the situation along the Mississippi, particularly NOLA.
Check in there if you are interested.
I learned more about the Flood-Gate systems over the last few days than I thought was good for me.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24314
Quoting kmanislander:
GFS on the 29th May showing deep moisture accumulations returning to the W and SW Caribbean.No pre June 1st system on the cards this year it would seem and perhaps no June system either unless things crank up in a hurry from the very dry conditions that have prevailed in this area for weeks.



Maybe not in the Caribbean, but there is still a chance for a system in the ATL near Bermuda before June 1st, some models have been hinting at lower pressures there.
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If GW forecasts come to pass in about 100 years the island I live on will be about 20% of its current size. I have to be careful with my local long term investments.No dynasty building apparently.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53846
Quoting kmanislander:



No wave on the map now in the Atlantic and the ITCZ is way down South. There were showers in spots last night but on the SW coast where I live not even enough to register on my gauge :-(

I have my fingers crossed though as there is a promising dark line of clouds right overhead at the moment.


Good Luck!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24314
Quoting GiovannaDatoli:
And meanwhile the global continues to warm; and warm rapidly, as a result of the relentless C02 emissions spewing forth endlessly from the burning of fossil fuels. And these historic tornado outbreaks, floods, and other extreme weather will only begin getting more frequent in nature--unless of course the omniscient folks in the House step up and take a stand against Big Energy and their obfuscatory agenda.

But until tax dollars are averted from being fed right into the laps of Big Energy and the GOP learns how to allocate their taxpayers funding for the good of the planet, I think I'll place my bets with the former.

...and so, AGW rears it's boisterous head! :)
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24314
Quoting pottery:
Actually, if you omitted the Rap. posts from this blog over the past couple of days, you would be left with about 6 posts ....
No weather to talk about, really.


Very true. The passing of the rapture will hopefully coincide with a pick up in weather activity LOL
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Quoting pottery:

Good!!
I was looking at a wave yesterday, now around 40w, but it seems to have lost a lot of it's Pizzaz today.
I heard you had some showers yesterday?
As you pointed out, looks like a change is coming for you. Weather wise..
About time?



No wave on the map now in the Atlantic and the ITCZ is way down South. There were showers in spots last night but on the SW coast where I live not even enough to register on my gauge :-(

I have my fingers crossed though as there is a promising dark line of clouds right overhead at the moment.

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Actually, if you omitted the Rap. posts from this blog over the past couple of days, you would be left with about 6 posts ....
No weather to talk about, really.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24314
Quoting kmanislander:


I couldn't find a single person willing to fast track my retirement by offloading their worldly possessions to me over the past couple of days and yet so many seem to give this rapture thing credence.

You really have to scratch your head at the gullibility of mankind. At least we can get back to the weather now.

Good!!
I was looking at a wave yesterday, now around 40w, but it seems to have lost a lot of it's Pizzaz today.
I heard you had some showers yesterday?
As you pointed out, looks like a change is coming for you. Weather wise..
About time?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24314
541. flsky
Actually, I think it's more the media's fault. NO ONE would have heard about this yo yo (except his very small group of adherents) if they hadn't run w/it. Thanks god, or whomever, that no koolaid was involved!

Quoting Chicklit:
Hey, look at the bright side: nobody drank poison koolaid so they could all get raptured together anyway.
That this um "prediction" got so much attention is indicative of how screwed up things have been (e.g., 9.0 quake, run-away nuclear plant, multiple F5 tornado outbreak, historic fires and floods).

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GFS on the 29th May showing deep moisture accumulations returning to the W and SW Caribbean.No pre June 1st system on the cards this year it would seem and perhaps no June system either unless things crank up in a hurry from the very dry conditions that have prevailed in this area for weeks.

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Hey, look at the bright side: nobody drank poison koolaid so they could all get raptured together anyway.
That this um "prediction" got so much attention is indicative of how screwed up things have been (e.g., 9.0 quake, run-away nuclear plant, multiple F5 tornado outbreak, historic fires and floods).

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Quoting pottery:

Yeah, I know.
Quite right, too.
At the end of the day, if you fall for something as ridiculous as this and give away your wealth, you deserve it.
But the same argument could be made for all the crazy promises made by Bernie Maddof and people like him too.
Crazy World, fo' sho'!


I couldn't find a single person willing to fast track my retirement by offloading their worldly possessions to me over the past couple of days and yet so many seem to give this rapture thing credence.

You really have to scratch your head at the gullibility of mankind. At least we can get back to the weather now.
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537. flsky
I like the way you state things clearly, concisely.
Quoting Patrap:
We dont lock up folks for Religious Freedom here last I checked.

What would be the charge?

U do that and u have a martyr then.


His way of thinking is his penalty,and his downfall easily.
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And another,... Lordy,...fo'sho'....
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Quoting Patrap:
We dont lock up folks for Religious Freedom here last I checked.

What would be the charge?

U do that and u have a martyr then.


His way of thinking is his penalty,and his downfall easily.

Yeah, I know.
Quite right, too.
At the end of the day, if you fall for something as ridiculous as this and give away your wealth, you deserve it.
But the same argument could be made for all the crazy promises made by Bernie Maddof and people like him too.
Crazy World, fo' sho'!
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Lordy,...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
Quoting Bitmap7:


It was a joke buddy, but I got the picture from the headlines of the Jamaica Observer, you can have a read here. Link

LOL OK!
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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.


It was a joke buddy, but I got the picture from the headlines of the Jamaica Observer, you can have a read here. Link
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We dont lock up folks for Religious Freedom here last I checked.

What would be the charge?

U do that and u have a martyr then.


His way of thinking is his penalty,and his downfall easily.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
NOTHING MORE NOTHING LESS
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53846
So back to the weather...

I know we need rain here but if we have to get it from something tropical I hope it's nothing too bad. We are just now starting to get things back in order.

May 21, 2011
Sea Rim State Park bouncing back from disaster
Mary Meaux The Port Arthur News
Link

SEA RIM STATE PARK — Sea Rim State Park is open for business, again.

The park, touted as the only Texas beach of its kind where the marsh meets the Gulf of Mexico, recently went to a self-pay system for use of the beach, Tracy Ferguson, park superintendent, said...

...Justin Rhodes, Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife state parks director for Region 4, said Texas Parks and Wildlife was provided $2 million for the recovery of Sea Rim State Park by the 81st Legislature. With these funds, the department is currently engaged in a master planning process to restore limited facilities, including overnight camping.

Prior to the devastation of not one but two major hurricanes, visitors were greeted by park personnel at a fee booth before entering the spacious park which held a headquarters building, interpretative center, bath house, several parking lots and more.

“This is a very exciting time. There was so much devastation after Ike and we were so close to getting the park reopened. We were within a few weeks of reopening. It was heartbreaking to see the damage,” Rhodes said.
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XX/XX/XL
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53846
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.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24314
It could very well be that Harold Camping did not take into account that there were probably Millions of people praying to God, to Deliver Them From Evil.
And that's why we are all spared from from Camping's evil foolishness.

He should be locked away.
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:
I don't know what to say about "the rapture" other than it makes me so mad that vein in my forehead is about to bust! Con artists, thieves and vultures who prey on the most vulnerable of us usually have that effect on me! UGH!!!



People have this thing called "free Will",and no one has forced them to believe anything other than themselves in this situation.

Folks live in Hurricane prone areas and some choose to ignore preparation suggestions and find themselves scrambling at the last moment in a panic to get out or get ready.

The delusional thread of thinking is not just confined to the Religious world.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
I don't know what to say about "the rapture" other than it makes me so mad that vein in my forehead is about to bust! Con artists, thieves and vultures who prey on the most vulnerable of us usually have that effect on me! UGH!!!

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Rapture May Not Arrive Today After All


If the Rapture comes in 2011, it may not be today after all. Harold Camping became famous for predicting that the end of the world would come today, but the ultimate test came on Christmas Island. If Camping was right,
then a powerful earthquake would have struck every time zone at 6 p.m. local time, and one of the countries to be destroyed would have been New Zealand. But May 21 is almost over in New Zealand and Christmas Island, yet the Rapture hasn't begun there.

The Los Angeles Times broke the news that America and the world would be safe, as no earthquakes have struck yet. According to Camping, they would have proceeded from time zone to time zone by now, until all of the sinners were wiped out.

But since the sinful Christmas Island, and New Zealand as a whole, wasn't wiped out at 6 p.m., then it puts the entire theory in jeopardy. Therefore, even if some areas are struck by earthquakes, it might not be a Rapture-level event.

For all anyone knows, there might be an apocalypse later in 2011, yet it probably won't happen today. Therefore, Americans can rest easy, knowing that 6 p.m. will come and go with the land still standing. As such, people have to keep their appointments tonight and can watch the Preakness Stakes and NBA Western Conference finals with no trouble. What's more, no one will miss Oprah's final episodes next week.

By the time every region is officially spared, Camping will need an excuse to explain what went wrong. He blamed faulty calculations for why humanity wasn't wiped out in 1994, the first time he predicted Doomsday. Since that probably won't work twice- especially after his massive marketing campaign from the last few weeks- he needs to find another explanation.

This is particularly embarrassing, because if any nation would be the first to have an apocalyptic earthquake, it would be New Zealand. The nation is still recovering from some devastating quakes in the last year, including a 6.3 at Christchurch on Feb. 22. In fact, the last nine of the 181 confirmed victims were finally found on May 16, according to the Associated Press.

But given these incidents, and the destructive quake in Japan a few months ago, perhaps God is finally giving the Far East a break. Camping was apparently convinced that the region hadn't suffered enough, yet for
one day, at least, it is safe from harm- and so is the rest of Earth.

With no Rapture on tap for today, it appears the end of the world is a ways off. Yet God and Jesus have continued to spare humanity for 2011 years, so Camping shouldn't be that shocked that they still won't pull the trigger.

Sources

Los Angeles Times-
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53846
re: 518. Just like rainfall in TX, the rapture is a NO SHOW. He's a terrorist-a psychological one. Isn't that enough credit for prosecution? Stupid stupid stupid people...
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Quoting nigel20:


Sea surface temperatures are almost identical to last year now. The biggest difference is out towards the Cape Verdes where temperatures were warmer this time last year. I would love to know how much above average the MDR temps are today. I would venture to say that they are pretty close to the record warmth of last year now.
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Look at these poor kids in Jamaica crippled by the fear of rapture. Camping should be locked up for terrorising these young minds.

Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Kinda looked like it developed 2 on the 12z. One developed/went through Puerto Rico and another that stayed in Caribbean at the end of the run. Sure has been hinting at development one way or the other for days now.


We will know for sure by Friday if it keeps holding on to it. The version on the moe page is now trying to illustrate it on the 12z.(note the closed irregular circle in the area of low pressure)

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Quoting Bitmap7:
Those of you hoping for some early action GFS is forming a big low starting next week monday north of the panama isthmus,east of the Yucatan, same spot as Paloma (not this monday but the other). We will see how that goes.
Link


Kinda looked like it developed 2 on the 12z. One developed/went through Puerto Rico and another that stayed in Caribbean at the end of the run. Sure has been hinting at development one way or the other for days now.
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What really ticks me off with this end-of-the-world nonsense is the collateral damage, like to the children of "believers."

Way to completely fail in your parental responsibilities, folks. Didn't Jesus have a thing or two to say about kids?
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514. 7544
Quoting hurricaneben:
Looks like the GFS 12UTC edition is showing a potential TD/TS 360-384 hours out near Jamaica...hopefully it pulls North into Florida and brings some much-needed rainfall here. Just don't make it too damaging so early in the season.


+ 1 looks interesting

Link
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
XX/XX/XL


interesting KOTG it the Trpcl wave
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12037
Looks like the GFS 12UTC edition is showing a potential TD/TS 360-384 hours out near Jamaica...hopefully it pulls North into Florida and brings some much-needed rainfall here. Just don't make it too damaging so early in the season.
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>
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53846
Chiklet- that's really great news. Thanks for posting that. A pre-emptive strike- I am smiling.
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good morning guys
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Quoting P451:


The whole thing is silly really but I do wonder about the time of such ficticious events. If it happens at 12am whose 12am does it occur? Does it hit one time zone and then wait an hour to ravage the next time zone?

Can I keep running West and escape?

Lot of questions here a lot of questions. :)


Funny, I was wondering last night if I could just catch a flight and go west for 24 hours... but I figured the Rapture would catch up with me, in the end :) No escape from Certain Doom...
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Whoo hoo!!!

BATON ROUGE %u2014 The Coast Guard and state and federal environmental protection agencies are taking steps to prevent further pollution of the Atchafalaya Basin as already tainted Mississippi River water from other states rushes through the nation's largest river swamp.

Officials with the Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency, the National Weather Service and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness surveyed the Basin by air Friday from the Morganza Spillway to Morgan City looking for possible problem areas.

"I've never been in a response when we had a chance to get ahead of the disaster," said Jim Staves of EPA's Region VI office in Dallas.

EPA and the state DEQ have been collecting from houses and camps in the Basin containers of paint, bleach, pesticides, oil, antifreeze and other pollutants that would be spread by the floodwaters. Crews were in St. Martin Parish Friday collecting household wastes.

"This is the first time I've known of cleanup being done before a disaster," Staves said. "It's much easier" than having to try to clean it up afterward, which presents dangers for people returning to their homes, wildlife and to disaster responders.

The goal of the flight in the C-144 aircraft, said Coast Guard LCDR Kelly Dietrich, was "to get an idea of where the water is in relation to facilities" that could cause pollution if flooded. "We want to assure that we're on top of and ahead of any problems."

Coast Guard, EPA search for pollution
Link


Hooray! Notice they said the 'already polluted' waters. At least it won't get worse, at least not without us putting up a fight.
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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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