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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1157. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astrological Service and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #2
TROPICAL STORM CHEDENG (SONGDA)
11:00 AM PhST May 23 2011
====================================

Tropical Storm "CHEDENG" has accelerated slightly as it continues to move in a West Northwest direction.

At 10:00 AM PhST, Tropical Storm Chedeng (SONGDA) located at 11.2°N 133.8°E or 795 kms east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts up to 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northeast at 7 knots.

Additional Information
======================
This weather disturbance is expected not to directly affect any part of the country within the next 24 hrs.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 11 PM today.
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Tornadoes develop mostly on plains... What about if you live in the mountains? The incidence of tornadoes should be much lower...
I was referring mainly to the fact that the formation and dissipation of tornadoes are immensely hard to predict.
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Quoting KoritheMan:

Not to mention we understand the complex mechanics of hurricanes much more so than tornadoes.


Tornadoes develop mostly on plains... What about if you live in the mountains? The incidence of tornadoes should be much lower...
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
Meanwhile, Minneapolis police are reporting gunfire and looting in tornado-ravaged parts of that city. A possible first-ever curfew has been imposed.

http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/Gunshots- Looting-Prompt-Mpls-Curfew-may-22-2011
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Joplin tornado wrecked semi trucks photo
http://twitpic.com/51bvve
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how many fatalities do we know of?
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Quoting kimoskee:
My heart goes out for those poor people in Joplin.
If given a choice, I would prefer a hurricane over a tornado or earthquake, because at least a hurricane gives you time to prepare.

Very very sad.


my sentiments exactly! People think that we "coastal
folks" are crazy for living in hurricane prone areas..I might not be able to afford the insurance anymore but at least I have ample time to evac if need be.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Ah, you flatter me. You're wrong--but thanks for the compliment.
Alright then. You guys sure do have a similar writing style, though.
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Quoting kimoskee:

If given a choice, I would prefer a hurricane over a tornado or earthquake, because at least a hurricane gives you time to prepare.
Not to mention we understand the complex mechanics of hurricanes much more so than tornadoes.
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My heart goes out for those poor people in Joplin.
If given a choice, I would prefer a hurricane over a tornado or earthquake, because at least a hurricane gives you time to prepare.

Very very sad.
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Big one S of Mexico...


Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
Quoting RMCF:
in caruthersville, MO will this storm keep intensity through the night ? should i be worried?


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Quoting KoritheMan:

Why the alt, Neap?

Ah, you flatter me. You're wrong--but thanks for the compliment.
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1144. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
XXX
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Quoting GiovannaDatoli:

Why the alt, Neap?
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Quoting muddertracker:
I can't believe people are looting in Joplin. Makes me sick. People are dead and dying while others are trying to steal? Sick. Shoot on sight.


7.62 FMJ, stops looters dead...

I'm listening to the police scanner for joplin, not sounds good at all there... and here i was hoping the active florida weather season would kick off soon... not if its gonna be like this though... thoughts and prayers to that part of the country...
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Quoting AussieStorm:
360 Degree view of Joplin

Versatile Iphone application...
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
360 Degree view of Joplin
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
1136. emcf30
7 DOAs at nursing home I posted info on earlier.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
Quoting RMCF:
in caruthersville, MO will this storm keep intensity through the night ? should i be worried?


Check out from time to time, reports on 28storms.com (right panel on the webpage), or check links like http://thextremeweather.com/links.html or many other links available...http://radar.weather.gov/index_lite.ht m

in 28storms they have the following warnings:

Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Howell, Oregon, and Ozark County in MO until 10:15pm CDT. #mowx 20 minutes ago
Tornado Warning for Douglas, Howell, Oregon and Ozark County in MO until 9:45pm CDT. #mowx 28 minutes ago
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814




OMG they may have round 2 tomorrow also.......DAM
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Oh here ya are Boondocks two tone Baker!!!!!!!!!!
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1132. RMCF
in caruthersville, MO will this storm keep intensity through the night ? should i be worried?
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Incredible destruction; Never seen a tornado, only water spouts around the island. From what I've read it was three quarters of a mile wide and it had multi-vortexes...
Can a tornado in that magnitude suction things and people out through the windows?


this tornado did through the hospital windows
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Quoting Neapolitan:
St. Johns Hospitl. Be sure to click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


Incredible.


Incredible destruction; Never seen a tornado, only water spouts around the island. From what I've read it was three quarters of a mile wide and it had multi-vortexes...
Can a tornado in that magnitude suction things and people out through the windows?
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
1129. txjac
I see these pictures but the devastation is so great that my mind is having a hard time accepting it. It's totally unbelievable
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2520
Joplin Radio
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Setting up a portable morgue unit at Missouri Southern Football field........not good!!!!
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St. Johns Hospital. Be sure to click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.


Incredible.
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I know we are tired of the Apocalypse Scam... Anyhow here is one of the latest videos... Will keep looking for Weather news...

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1123. emcf30


Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
1122. emcf30
Link

Joplin Tornado Tweeter page.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
1121. emcf30
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
1120. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #21
SEVERE TROPICAL STORM SONGDA (T1102)
9:00 AM JST May 23 2011
==================================

SUBJECT: Category Two Typhoon In Sea East Of Philippines

At 0:00 AM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Songda (985 hPa) located at 10.8N 134.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts of 70 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northwest at 9 knots.

Gale Force Winds
===============
130 NM from the center in eastern quadrant
110 NM from the center in western quadrant

Dvorak Intensity: T3.0

Forecast And Intensity
=======================
24 HRS: 11.7N 132.1E - 70 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon)
49 HRS: 12.8N 130.1E - 80 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon)
72 HRS: 14.9N 128.0E - 85 knots (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)

Additional Information
====================
Position forecast is mainly based on numerical weather prediction and persistency

Severe Tropical Storm will be upgraded to typhoon within 24 hours

Severe Tropical Storm will develop because of cloud top temperature near cyclone center has become colder and will stay in high sea surface temperature area

Final Dvorak T-Number will be 4.5 after 24 hours
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1119. emcf30


High school
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
1117. emcf30
Multiple pts at nursing home that was destroyed. Request for more personnel, medical supplies and lots of blankets. Atleast 4 pts at hospital lost their lives
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
High alert at Ben Gurion as plane plans emergency landing
By JPOST.COM STAFF
23/05/2011
El Al plane carrying 279 passengers on board takes off en route to New York but forced to return to attempt emergency landing after technical fault found in left wheel; over 70 MDA rescue teams at scene.

A state of emergency was announced at Ben Gurion Airport overnight Sunday because of a technical fault on board an El Al flight expected to land at the airport.

The El Al flight 027, carrying 279 passengers on board, took off en route to New York but was forced to turn back and perform an emergency landing when it was discovered that there was a technical fault in one of the plane's left wheels.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
Quoting emcf30:


Walmart in Joplin WOW

OMG How would anyone survive in that?
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1114. emcf30


Walmart in Joplin WOW
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
RadioReference.com Live Feed from Joplin (Jasper County)

This is linked to a facebook page where messages can be left.
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Joplin hit hard by major tornado
Posted: 05/22/2011
Last Updated: 1 minute ago

By: Kevin Mitchell

JOPLIN, Missouri - A major tornado caused massive damage in Joplin, Mo. Sunday afternoon, leveling buildings, killing dozens and causing massive damage to many standing structures.

According to the Springfield News-Leader, at least 24 people have died from the tornado.

The tornado caused widespread damage to the city when it struck the town around 6 p.m.

St. John's Regional Medical Center sustained major damage.There were reports of fires throughout the building and fears of an explosion occuring due to broken gas lines.

Many busineses were destroyed and power lines are down throughout the city.

The tornado is thought at this time to have been between three-quarter to one-mile wide and the damage path is at least three miles long. It's ranking on the Fujita (F1-F5) has not been determined.

There are multiple reports of people being trapped in cars and in buildings. The Red Cross has a page set up to help you find people you know who might be missing, and to report your self as being safe. The page is at redcross.org/safeandwell .

Cell phone service has been called spotty at best, and most home phone service is down.

____________________________

From Twitter: Tornado has struck Joplin, MO.; local hospital reportedly on fire - via KSHB-TV http://bit.ly/kNlcTM

____________________
Joplin Pounded By Tornado, Fatalities Reported

POSTED: 6:23 pm CDT May 22, 2011
UPDATED: 8:33 pm CDT May 22, 2011

JOPLIN, Mo. -- A large multi-vortex tornado hit Joplin Sunday evening and caused heavy damage as the city took a direct hit.

Damage was widespread across the south side of Joplin, Mo., John Campbell, operations director for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, confirmed fatalities have been reported, but he did not yet have an exact number or specifics.

Phone communications in and out of the city were largely cut off.

Several media reports said that numerous buildings along Rangeline Road, Highways 37 and 96 were demolished.

Another media report stated that St. John's Hospital was hit directly, along with a Walgreens, Home Depot and several other locations.

There was no initial reports of if anyone was injured in the tornado.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
FYI Discovery channel has a show that comes on in 10 minutes about the April Tornado outbreak
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Here's video taken from person in car near St. Johns just before the twister hit. Notice the multiple power flashes and blaring sirens, but no visible funnel as the storm was rain-wrapped:

http://videos.kansas.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media ?id=90106011

(No embed)
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Well, it's not over yet...we have to contend with this system for a few more days.
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1107. aquak9
grampa I think we're all in a state of shock

we were here for too many tornadoes this year
we've been upset for a few months
and just when we think
we can breathe again

then it happens AGAIN
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.