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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.."Take me to the River"..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
barges running amuck? confound it, I been fussing about all those barges. Seeing now, the close-up flow on the river, WOW. That's frightening, amazing to see. What history fills my eyes.

On another note, husband has decided we will each lay a set of clothes on the driveway tomorrow. Doubt anyone will notice...
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26680
Quoting Patrap:
Miss. River traffic shut down near Baton Rouge after barges get loose, sink

Mississippi River traffic is shut down for a five-mile stretch in Baton Rouge after four barges came loose Friday afternoon, with one of them striking another barge and the other three sinking.



OK, that makes the situation more clear.
Seems like a barge has gone down, and they are not sure at this point where it is.
The River is really flowing there! Wow!
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
Miss. River traffic shut down near Baton Rouge after barges get loose, sink

Mississippi River traffic is shut down for a five-mile stretch in Baton Rouge after four barges came loose Friday afternoon, with one of them striking another barge and the other three sinking.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
Quoting pottery:

LOL.
How is the view from Up There?
(wait a minute. Where DO Aussies go, when they Ascend??? You ascend DOWN!)

Nice and sunny here, Not to hot not to cold, just perfect. The view is beautiful
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
Quoting JRRP:

Link


Thanks ^^
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
PHOTO's:Osprey chicks saved from flood
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
Quoting AussieStorm:
i'm still here
well thats a good thing
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
396. JRRP
Quoting Gearsts:
Anyone here seen the PR radar? Theres a rotation north of Arecibo, kinda cool to watch. Plus more rain coming :(

Link


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.."Tugboat rodeo 'Round Up' Cajun style" up @ Red Stick"...

The first sign of the River-Pocalypse...


Hang on,,it may get bumpy.

No "When the "_____" Breaks" tunes allowed.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
Quoting AussieStorm:

I am afar, afar from you.We have internet here also. lol

LOL.
How is the view from Up There?
(wait a minute. Where DO Aussies go, when they Ascend??? You ascend DOWN!)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Anyone here seen the PR radar? Theres a rotation north of Arecibo, kinda cool to watch. Plus more rain coming :(
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Quoting brla61:


Hey Pottery! I'm not sure if that's is possible. they are talking about evacuating the Hollywood casino on the river.

Well I have not seen any images or anything...
Is the barge below the surface?
How come they cant get a line to it?

Where is Patrap when we need him?
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Quoting brla61:


Hey Pottery! I'm not sure if that's is possible. they are talking about evacuating the Hollywood casino on the river.


I wouldn't want to be on the tug that tried to put a cable on it. That river is FAST and furious right now..
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Quoting pottery:

How do we know you are not speaking to us from afar?

I am afar, afar from you.We have internet here also. lol
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
Quoting EYEStoSEA:


Ok..lol...so far, so good! what time is it there?

13:15AEST
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
Quoting pottery:

Why dont they get a cable on it, and secure it????


Hey Pottery! I'm not sure if that's is possible. they are talking about evacuating the Hollywood casino on the river.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting brla61:
This is Breaking NEws on Wafb site

Bobbing Barge Causes Concerns

Baton Rouge, LA (WAFB) -- A semi-submerged barge floating south on the Mississippi river has officials on alert. The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office says this is one of the sunken barges from Friday's incident near the U.S. 190 bridge. At last check, authorities estimate the rogue barge will travel in front of downtown Baton Rouge.

WAFB 9 News has a crew on the scene. Stay tuned to 9 News at Ten for more information

Why dont they get a cable on it, and secure it????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The sun will come out tomorrow,
bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
there'll be sun....


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This is Breaking NEws on Wafb site

Bobbing Barge Causes Concerns

Baton Rouge, LA (WAFB) -- A semi-submerged barge floating south on the Mississippi river has officials on alert. The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office says this is one of the sunken barges from Friday's incident near the U.S. 190 bridge. At last check, authorities estimate the rogue barge will travel in front of downtown Baton Rouge.

WAFB 9 News has a crew on the scene. Stay tuned to 9 News at Ten for more information
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bitmap7:
We just had a good shower here in cayman. :)


First for a long time, eh?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:
i'm still here

How do we know you are not speaking to us from afar?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:
i'm still here


Ok..lol...so far, so good! what time is it there?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We just had a good shower here in cayman. :)

Member Since: May 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 429
i'm still here
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
Quoting emcf30:


GLOBAL WARMING
Seriously, I hate you guys





i love you guys
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
LARGE image of Bonnet Carre Spillway, Lake P and NOLA with dat Phat River winding thru


LOve looking at these kind of pics...the Ms looks like a long snake ...Puts everything into perspective for ya....
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:

Supposed to stuff the shoes with dry ice so you get a nice "smoking" effect. Also if you have a friend can blow a trumpet, 1. arrange cloths 2. Blow trumpet 3. Release helium inflated life size doll. recommended venue: Annoying hyper-religious neighbor's front yard. Recommended time 15 min before or after predicted time. Response when comes to the door. "What you're still here. I was gonna take your car."

What happens if you are zooming along at 42,000 feet over the Andes, and the Pilots get taken up?
My advice is to ensure that your Pilot is a Confirmed Disbeliever before departure.
Boggles the mind, it does.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:


Oh, Rapture! Pranks are in the works
By Alan Boyle
If you see scenes like this in your neighborhood, DON'T PANIC! Cast-off clothes are not a sign that the elect have been taken up in Saturday's scheduled Rapture. It's more likely to be a prank suggested by Jonathan Elliot, a self-described "architect of the liberal conspiracy" from New Zealand. Other pranksters have suggested filling blow-up dolls with helium and sending them heavenward ... or calling your boss at 5:58 p.m. local time and leaving a message about how much you love your job, then ending the call in midsentence. If you do such things, let folks know by sending Twitter updates with the #raptureprank or #rapturebomb hashtag. We'll see who has the last laugh this weekend.
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/05/20/6 685223-oh-rapture-pranks-are-in-the-works


Supposed to stuff the shoes with dry ice so you get a nice "smoking" effect. Also if you have a friend can blow a trumpet, 1. arrange cloths 2. Blow trumpet 3. Release helium inflated life size doll. recommended venue: Annoying hyper-religious neighbor's front yard. Recommended time 15 min before or after predicted time. Response when comes to the door. "What you're still here. I was gonna take your car."
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
"Liars Dance"


Far four winds blow
There's trouble and it won't go
I'd really like to help you but you know
Truth twist - liars dance
Money, money - greed, chance
Let's take a little more before we go
Cause we won't be back again
No we won't be back again

Trees cry - men bow
Kneel before the fatted cow
Let's take a little moo before we go
We won't be back again
No we won't be back again
Oh we won't be back again

Tell me Jesus what to do
A little time for me, and none for you
Just leave it to the lady who's sure
She won't be back again
I know she won't be back again
I'm sure she won't be back again
Oh she won't be back again
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
Quoting PcolaDan:


LOL That'll learn ya!

Yeah. It set the dogs to barkin' and all....
You should warn people before you do things like that.
I thought the World had ended or something.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:




God whispered to me just now and She said,,"best wait till I give yas the Heads up"

OK.
That's fine then.

sigh...

heheheheh
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:


WHOAAA!
That nearly killed me ded!
My speakers were up to Max....
whoo boy!


LOL That'll learn ya!
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting pottery:

That's fine, Pat.
Anything to help the 'dissappeared'...
But would'nt it be better just to transfer the funds to me right now?
There might be some problems ...




God whispered to me just now and She said,,"best wait till I give yas the Heads up"

So Im gonna go with her advice for now..u understand Im sure.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
Quoting Skyepony:
Overall the Climate Change news is worse doom than usual..

One thing I hadn't realized is that town that burnt down in Canada the other day is pretty close to the oil sands excavation area. There's speculation about changing the scape of such a huge area affecting the weather in the area around.


GLOBAL WARMING
Seriously, I hate you guys

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Chicklit's smiling dog...always makes me smile :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:


Link


WHOAAA!
That nearly killed me ded!
My speakers were up to Max....
whoo boy!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chicklit:

Thanks, Potts.
Think we'll all be okay hanging here on earth.
Maybe take a rain check on the rapture thing til we're ready, huh?

Yeah. I think we get to wait 7000 years for the next one.
Grothar will probably be around.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

Maybe he 'left' already?


Link
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Indian Ocean Low



Atlantic

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Well I best get my "exit entry" finished soon, cuz I have a lil more to say before I get "Raptured".

Pottery,,I'll wu mail you my log in info and you can post it for me Sunday am.

I'll also leave my Bank addy and PIN #

That's fine, Pat.
Anything to help the 'dissappeared'...
But would'nt it be better just to transfer the funds to me right now?
There might be some problems ...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

I'm sure we will all be here tomorrow (barring natural causes of course).
Sleep well..

Thanks, Potts.
Think we'll all be okay hanging here on earth.
Maybe take a rain check on the rapture thing til we're ready, huh?
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11424
Quoting Chicklit:
Hopefully, that's good news for the Caymans Levi as we know they need rain. Anyway, goodnight.
I do think I will wake up in the morning and still be here. Will not be taken up in the rapture which is okay with me. I want to stay on earth as long as I can.

I'm sure we will all be here tomorrow (barring natural causes of course).
Sleep well..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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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