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 hcubed:


Remember what?


I hope you're kidding.
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Quoting emcf30:


earthquakes will continue "as the sun advances" with New York, United States to be affected at approximately at 6:00pm EDT (10:00pm UTC)

A little bit of semantics here, but...
How can the Sun 'advance' from 6:00pm?
Surely it will be in 'retreat' from Noon?

Dont tell me that the entire Event is hinged upon this?
In which case, someone got it all wrong, and we have to wait another 7000 years.
I really think that we need to Sue someone for the Dissapointment / Anxiety / Cost of Farewell Drinks and the like, if this does not come to pass.
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Quoting emcf30:


earthquakes will continue "as the sun advances" with New York, United States to be affected at approximately at 6:00pm EDT (10:00pm UTC)


Why do these things always happen at dinner time?
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Quoting Grothar:


Youv'e got to be old to remember that! LOL


Remember what?
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Entrepreneurs offer post-'rapture' services
Ventures include offering rapture believers pet care and a chance to send letters to nonbelieving loved ones in the event the faithful are swept away.

"Eight months ago, Jones paid $14.95 to a website called You've Been Left Behind to send letters to nonbelieving loved ones in the event she is taken away in the rapture".

Link

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/la-fi-rapt ure-20110519,0,4747174.story
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
Quoting Chicklit:


rofl
hya groth. good to see ya back.


Glad to be back Chicklit. Liked your earlier posts.
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Quoting Grothar:
If there is any truth to this Rapture thing, any chance it will hit South Florida?


earthquakes will continue "as the sun advances" with New York, United States to be affected at approximately at 6:00pm EDT (10:00pm UTC)
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
Quoting Grothar:
If there is any truth to this Rapture thing, any chance it will hit South Florida?


Joe B. has it as a category 5 headed right for New York City now...

JFV has raised his shower curtain in a vain attempt to block the full effect of the rapture.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
If there is any truth to this Rapture thing, any chance it will hit South Florida?


rofl
hya groth. good to see ya back.
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Quoting alfabob:

WOW!!
That's one Scary picture, man.
Looks like the skull of Lucifer himself.
Makes me want to Believe.
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Quoting Grothar:
If there is any truth to this Rapture thing, any chance it will hit South Florida?

Noboddy there to save....
Sinners get left behind.
So, no. Afraid not.
You need to go to Peoria, Salt Lake City and stuff...
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
Sadly, I wonder how many more drunk driving incidents there will be tonight as a result of this crazed doomsday prediction. This man should be thrown in a looney bin with no key.

Hard to blame him, for the stupidity of others.
Will be fun to see how he (and others) manage to Back-Pedal out of this.
I am amazed at how many people WANT to feel threatened ALL THE TIME.
By all kinds of stuff.
And the Media plays right along with this.

I heard of a Survey that was done a little while ago.
In summary, it went like this--

First question-
Do you think that the World is an unsafe place?
Response by all-
Yes.

Second question-
Do you think that your country is an unsafe place?
Response by most-
Yes.

Third question-
Do you think that your neighborhood is an unsafe place?
Response by all-
NO!

So, if every neighborhood is reasonably safe, how come the world is not?
Makes no sense...
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If there is any truth to this Rapture thing, any chance it will hit South Florida?
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Quoting Levi32:


It's just one model run bringing low pressure northeastward out of the Caribbean. It's of little significance, since every GFS run will take the low different directions, and it's very far out in time. The main message to take from it is its consistency in showing low pressure in the Caribbean by the end of the month.

Thanks, checking Other models.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
The first to experience the Rapture

t minus 10hrs 50min


The current time and date in Tonga is
7:10 AM
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Standard Time +1300 UTC
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Quoting hcubed:


Badgers? We don't need no stinking badgers...


Youv'e got to be old to remember that! LOL
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Sadly, I wonder how many more drunk driving incidents there will be tonight as a result of this crazed doomsday prediction. This man should be thrown in a looney bin with no key.
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136. Jax82
Hot off the press, todays MODIS Terra image of the Mississippi river delta.



Link
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further explanationLink
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Guys, has anyone else noticed that even with multiple comments made today your total comments numbers are changing?

Ops meant to say comment numbers are not changing
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Levi, can you comment on this system in the Mona Passage...







Link


It's just one model run bringing low pressure northeastward out of the Caribbean. It's of little significance, since every GFS run will take the low different directions, and it's very far out in time. The main message to take from it is its consistency in showing low pressure in the Caribbean by the end of the month.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

OMG it's true...... aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
No that is from 2012. Got a ways to go yet.
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Quoting Levi32:


You just click on "model guidance," select a model, and then select a region. It will then load the page with all the model images.

I


Levi, can you comment on this system in the Mona Passage...







Link
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
wind shear values are forecast to become favorable for development across the Caribbean in about a week

By which time, that wave at 30-35w will be there.
Have Fun!

At least it will probably fill your water tanks..
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Hmmm :/
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Quoting pottery:

QUICK!!
Get out the surfboard Aussie.
A wave is next....

Lol, ok how many turned the news on??????????????????..... it's 3:37am here, sun isn't up til almost 7am.

Goodnight all. See ya's in the mornin.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting AussieStorm:

OMG it's true...... aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

QUICK!!
Get out the surfboard Aussie.
A wave is next....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
125. txjac
Quoting CCstormer:

It is either that or keep playing the music while the ship goes down. Regarding the storm threat, this is one of the few times I "wishcast". Wish it would just stay south. Nuclear issue is enough without compounding the situation. Regardless, the whole thing is a complete disaster.


Wonder if he'll do that fall on the knife thing that happens in Japan?
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2538
wind shear values are forecast to become favorable for development across the Caribbean in about a week
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123. Jax82
RIP Macho Man.
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OMG it's true...... aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting sunlinepr:

Thanks for sharing that, Levi... Seems somewhat erratic... Or I need to read more??


You just click on "model guidance," select a model, and then select a region. It will then load the page with all the model images.

I don't like change either lol, but oh well.
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
Quoting blsealevel:


Now I see why the pres.of the nuclear power plant resigned "If all else fails bail"

It is either that or keep playing the music while the ship goes down. Regarding the storm threat, this is one of the few times I "wishcast". Wish it would just stay south. Nuclear issue is enough without compounding the situation. Regardless, the whole thing is a complete disaster.
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Quoting txjac:


Heya pot, howya doing?

Doin' Good!
Hot and Humid.
Just the way I like it, uh-hu-uh-huh!
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117. txjac
Quoting pottery:
Greetings all..
Just looking at that T-Wave approaching 35W.
It's looking pretty good, and covers a big area.
I think I will keep watching that one for a few days....


Heya pot, howya doing?
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2538
Quoting Levi32:


The new NCEP model site

Thanks for sharing that, Levi... Seems somewhat erratic... Or I need to read more??
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
115. Relix
Raining a lot in PR. Receiving some vortex signatures from the Doppler from a t-storm moving NW towards Toa Baja. It's been on and off.
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Quoting KeysieLife:

Sounds like someone needs to start pumping the ridge...

XD
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Greetings all..
Just looking at that T-Wave approaching 35W.
It's looking pretty good, and covers a big area.
I think I will keep watching that one for a few days....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
112. Jax82
FYI.

NASA ocean-watch satellite ready for June launch

The US space agency said Tuesday it is preparing to launch a satellite to observe levels of salt on the surface of the world's oceans and how changes in salinity may be linked to future climate.

The June 9 launch of Aquarius/SAC-D comes three months after NASA lost Glory, a 424-million-dollar Earth-observing satellite that failed to separate properly from its rocket launcher and plunged into the ocean.

The orbiting science instrument will aim to map the entire open ocean every seven days from its position 408 miles (657 kilometers) above Earth, producing monthly estimates that show how salt levels change over time and location.

"There are vast tracts of the ocean where salinity has never been collected, ever," said Eric Lindstrom, Aquarius program scientist at NASA, describing the high level of precision expected from the mission.

"We are going to be sampling the whole planet in one week," he told reporters.

While a European satellite was launched in 2009 to measure soil moisture and ocean salinity, the Aquarius/SAC-D is a global collaboration -- with partner Argentina as well as France, Brazil, Canada and Italy -- that will add to scientists' knowledge of the oceans in novel ways.

"Aquarius will map global variations in salinity in unprecedented detail, leading to new discoveries that will improve our ability to predict future climate," said principal investigator Gary Lagerloef of the Earth & Space Research in Seattle, Washington.

Scientists from the European Space Agency who launched the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission have been working in parallel and sometimes in partnership with NASA and Argentina's space agency, Comision Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE) as the two separate missions took shape, he said.

SMOS is a dual-purpose mission whose main focus is soil moisture, while Aquarius is aimed primarily at measuring ocean salinity, which plays a key role in exchanges of water and heat in the atmosphere.

"It has been a strong cooperative effort," said Lagerloef. "Once we have both of these missions in orbit, we will compare results, we will intercalibrate them," he told reporters.

"We will do a lot of things cooperatively to provide the best information about ocean surface salinity to the scientific community that we possibly can."

The satellite observatory is also to carry seven additional instruments to "collect environmental data for a wide range of applications, including studies of natural hazards, air quality, land processes and epidemiology," NASA said.

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Lots of rain and moisture down in the Carribean but ain't nothing gonna develop, in terms of a tropical nature, anytime soon due to the still very high sheer levels relative to the current position of the sub-tropical jet...........Sheer is probably not going to drop down there for another four weeks or more me thinks.
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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
Raccoons are not immortal.

What about badgers?


Badgers? We don't need no stinking badgers...
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109. txjac
Quoting KeysieLife:

Sounds like someone needs to start pumping the ridge...



LOL ...love it!
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2538
Quoting txjac:



Are you trying to make me jealous? It's working! Send it my way please ...lol

With pleasure, lol
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
It's rainy and dark here in PR. And it doesn't seem to be getting better.

Sounds like someone needs to start pumping the ridge...
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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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