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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Where can I access the EMXI forcast model? And when do we get access to the upgraded models?
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54425
the most up to date tron cone


Link
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54425
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54425
Quoting plywoodstatenative:
Anyone have any idea what the Tor Con sits at right now?
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Complete Update





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Anyone have any idea what the Tor Con sits at right now?
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Quoting plywoodstatenative:
with the apparent start of the Pacific tropical season, does that then imply that we will be seeing an earlier than normal start to our season?


No, there's usually very little correlation as far as when the season begins.
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So how do we get access to these upgraded versions of the weather models?
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897. beell
click for full discussion
MCD 849
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Wonderful essays--especially the one on the Old River Control Structure! Fascinating and frightening!
Many thanks, Jeff.
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Quoting aquak9:
if anyone wants to take a stab at post 852, please feel free to wu-mail me an answer. I really wanna know how they verify these upgrades.


The short answer to your question is yes they do. Here are the powerpoint presentations on the upgrades to HWRF and GFDL for this season which includes some data on storms from last year that were re-run with the upgrades.

HWRF upgrade

GFDL upgrade

Additionally there are several websites that track model performance against actual conditions over time:

Long-Term Performance Statistics for Multiple NWP Models

Diagnostics of the Performance of the NCEP Operational Global Analysis/Forecast System
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I would be very surprised if an El Nino developed this year, even a very weak one and very brief. The dynamic averages all indicate ~0.0 to +0.3 max ENSO conditions, solid neutral with a bit of a warm twist.




The 3 month running mean of ERSST.v3b SST anomalies in the Nino 3.4 region also came back for the month of April with a -0.9. There has never been a case where the 3 month ONI averages peaked above +0.5 during hurricane season with that low of an April average.
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After all that time up north, I don't wanna go back to FL. The weather's great up there.
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892. DEKRE
Quoting muddertracker:
Data is actually the plural form of datum...but nobody uses it...people just combine data with is or are to form the plural. Both are generally accepted.


In the US, because they don't know any better
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The eruption continues at Grímsvötn, where the number of earthquakes has decreased somewhat.

Icelandic regulators have closed this morning at Keflavik Airport, which is not expected to reopen today. The problems should not extend to Europe: everything depends on the winds in the coming hours. We note that the particles of lava are relatively large and should not cause the same air traffic disruption in the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull last year.

This morning, the circular road has been closed to Vik, to prevent people from rolling in the ash cloud, the authorities distributed goggles and masks to residents nearby, and advised to stay indoors. Farmers have been assisted to return their animals. 9am to 15, the ash layer was half a centimeter thick Kirikjuboejarklaustur, and visibility between 50 and 200 meters. Residents have to use "flaslight" to go from one house to another to 13.30, and attend a meeting organized by the safety commission.

Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting plywoodstatenative:
with the apparent start of the Pacific tropical season, does that then imply that we will be seeing an earlier than normal start to our season?

Not really, if anything it means to opposite, generally an Active Atlantic means an inactive pacific and vice versa, if you look at last year we had a slightly below average start to the season while the East Pacific was spitting out storms left and right. But that is just one year, an active early Pacific really doesn't mean anything.
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Quoting marknmelb:


Funny. But my turtle also disappeared from his aquarium around 6:00pm last night ... weird ..
Must have been a righteous one.
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Real-Time Tropical Cyclone Products - 2011 Season
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886. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


It still doesn't cross the El Nino threshold of 0.5C,although goes to Warm Neutral.


It actually does cross the .5 threshold though rather briefly..which is not even a point I'm trying to make. Look at the plume of many different ENSO models. The NCEP CFS model here (dark blue square) is the PDF corrected one. Not the same CFS model I see posted over & over (including today) which hasn't shown much skill.



NASA model has shown skill over the others recently.. EL Nino conditions come AUG or Sept wouldn't suprise me.. could it last long enough to be an offical El Nino? I don't know.. ESPI was up to -.79 now down to -.85 after being as low as -1.02... I do fully expect to see atleast warm neutral conditions by late summer/early fall, if not warmer.
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June 1 is just a subjective date for the Season beginning,,we have seen invests in May more than not the last decade.


Today begins Hurricane Awareness Week


History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster. Hurricane Preparedness Week during 2011 will be held May 22nd through May 28th.

NHC Director Bill Read discusses the hazards associated with a hurricane and the role of the National Hurricane Center.

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Quoting presslord:


not me ;-)


Yes it tells you that we are close to the end of the world in the blog when we get close to the start of hurricane season.
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with the apparent start of the Pacific tropical season, does that then imply that we will be seeing an earlier than normal start to our season?
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on the ground report from Iceland

"Local updates! We went this morning at 5am to Kirkjabaerklustur, after only 3 hours of sleep. The last explosion at 2am was pretty amazing as observed from Selfoss. Also the lightnings. In morning, the ash column was hidden in a vast cloud visible in all eastern horizon. As we got there it was very scary, it was pitch black in Kirkjabaerklustur, and locals told me they never experienced this in any Grimsvotn eruption. The ash fall is very heavy. Already 5cm or more of ash there. We only stayed 30min it was impossible to stay longer, as conditions were getting worse. We left and ash fog is already about 2hours from Reykjavik, and moving southwestwards. Now, I am back home, there is a huge cloud over the east horizon covering about 20% of the sky (this is 150-200km away), and inside the ash column is visible, moving southwards. News reports spoke of 23km high column or more. I will report more later, now I am going to have a rest!!"
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The May ECMWF forecast for ENSO calls for Warm Neutral thru the Summer.

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Quoting Jax82:
i'm still here, but my neighbor disappeared.


Funny. But my turtle also disappeared from his aquarium around 6:00pm last night ... weird ..
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Get the piston engine seaplanes ready for air travel
in the British Isles.


All domestic flights with Air Iceland have been cancelled today. *Most roads are open and unaffected; although Route 1 is closed at the nearest point to the volcano, south of the Vatnajokull glacier. People in the areas affected by ash are being asked to stay indoors and use dust masks if they go outside.

Link

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I reached 90 degrees a few min ago here in Odessa, fl. Summer isn't taking her sweet time like she did last year.
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Quoting Skyepony:
CFS ENSO forecast there has really trended warmer over the last several months... Wasn't long ago it didn't see Neutral coming.

PDF corrected shows a warmer story..


It still doesn't cross the El Nino threshold of +0.5C,although goes to Warm Neutral.
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Quoting emcf30:
This is a true sucker

New York Man Spends Life Savings Ahead of May 21 Doomsday

Updated: Thursday, 19 May 2011, 9:50 AM CDT
Published : Friday, 13 May 2011, 7:42 AM CDT

(The New York Post) - A New York man spent his entire $140,000 life savings advertising his prediction that the world will end May 21, the New York Post reported Friday.

Robert Fitzpatrick, a 60-year-old Staten Island resident, said he spent at least that sum on 1,000 subway-car placards and ads on bus kiosks and subway cars.

They say, "Global Earthquake: The Greatest Ever! Judgment Day May 21, 2011."

Link


Ain't no fix for stupid.
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875. Skyepony (Mod)
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Songda





RAMMB Page

WP042011 - Tropical Storm SONGDA
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873. Skyepony (Mod)
CFS ENSO forecast there has really trended warmer over the last several months... Wasn't long ago it didn't see Neutral coming.

PDF corrected shows a warmer story..
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I was looking back at storm history and it looks like the 2009 and 2010 seasons with zero deaths and zero dollar damage were the first time we've had two years back-to-back like that since 1922/23. I had not realized how rare that was.
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Quoting FtMyersgal:
Welcome back NRAamy! You were missed


Agreed, and the VOID on her blog was sad.
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870. Skyepony (Mod)
Pakistan~ Eight people, including six women, as storm and lightning struck in Lahore and Faisalabad while hailstorm and heavy rain were also reported in some parts of the province. Seven people were killed while 80 others injured in Sahiwal alone. However, the rain also brought relief from scorching summer heat to the people. The Met Office forecast more rains in the central and southern part of Punjab in the next week. Traffic was disrupted as sign boards were unhooked and tree uprooted in areas visited by storm, cutting them off with the surrounding areas. The supply of electricity was also disrupted. Seven people including a woman were killed while 80 others injured in thunderstorm which hit Sahiwal city and its surrounding areas on Saturday night. According to hospital sources, a rickshaw driver died on the spot when a signboard of a private mobile company fell on him at Sadar Chowk. Two people were killed in Small Industry Area, one in Muslim bin Akeel Colony, a woman belonging to Malka Hans was also killed during the thunderstorm. Many trees and electric poles fell down. The deceased were identified as Zawar Hussain, Muhammad Ishaq, Muhammad Ramzan, Waseem Ahmed, Muhammad Farooq, Muhammad Shahid and a woman Sabira Bibi.

Twenty people sustained burn injures while a man was killed in an incident of lightning in Kamalia. Three of the injured were brought to Faisalabad while seven wounded were carried to Tehsil Headquarters Hospital. All of them were told to be in critical condition. Two people were injured in roof collapse in Thekrianwala in Faisalabad, while traffic was halted on the Canal Road due to uprooting of the trees. The area was also struck by a hailstorm. The windstorm was followed by heavy rain and hails in the Adda Kasowaal in Chechawatni. Hailstorm destroyed crops in Sargodha. Six people were injured, besides many animals, in Farooqabad as a storm brought with it huge-sized hails. The news of storm were also received from Bahawalpur, Samma Satha, Mandi Bahauddin and Toba Tek Sing. Lightning also killed three women of a family in Athara Hazari and a man in Kamalia. One women was killed and three women and a child were injured in storm-related incidents in Pakpatten.
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Quoting CycloneUK:


A lot of models seem to be trending ENSO conditions back towards La Nina in early 2012. Certainly not looking like we'll reach much of an El Nino.
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868. Skyepony (Mod)
Montana~ The rain is beginning to let up, but the water continues to rise in the Blue Creek Area, forcing dozens to evacuate. Some residents remain stranded. "It doesn't look good," said Rossol Rod, a relative of one of the evacuated homeowners. "It's going to be a long day and long night," said Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy. Firefighters rescued stranded residents by boat. Residents' relatives donned waders and climbed over fences to reach their loved ones. Water inundated roadways Saturday, as days of rain pushed water over sandbags flooding area homes. The Briarwood golf course is now a giant water hazard. Forecasters are predicting that the rain might not let up until Friday. In the meantime, emergency coordinators said they are doing all they can to rescue everyone from the flood zones.
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if anyone wants to take a stab at post 852, please feel free to wu-mail me an answer. I really wanna know how they verify these upgrades.
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866. Skyepony (Mod)
Flooding has been a regular occurrence in some neighborhoods in Ishinomaki recently, but it has nothing to do with torrential rains--high tides now inundate land that was sunk by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The seawater floods have forced residents to leave their homes and a local primary school to change its schedule so children would not be stranded at school by the rising waters. In one area of the city, waters were about one meter deep during the spring tides. Kazunori Akiyama wore fishing waders and walked through knee-deep water to pick up a parcel from a customer in the Shiotomicho district of the city. Carrying the box on his shoulder, the 38-year-old delivery company employee said, "The water's unavoidable during deliveries at this hour. I have to be careful with people's packages to keep them dry." According to the city government, some areas sank by as much as 78 centimeters due to the disaster. About 300 households in Shiotomicho, Mangokucho and other districts now flood regularly. Residents have asked the city government to provide sandbags to protect their homes. Mangokuura Primary School has had to be flexible to make sure its 417 students are able to make it home before high tides block off roads. Kids are let out three hours before high tide, meaning school sometimes ends as early as 1 p.m. Floods have also hindered ambulances trying to respond to emergencies in the city. Ishinomaki Mayor Hiroshi Kameyama went to the Miyagi prefectural office Wednesday to ask for emergency aid to cope with the flooding during high tides. The prefectural government decided to erect a temporary embankment and set up drainage pumps along the coast in two districts by early June. But a city government official warned, "When the rainy season comes, there could be some major flooding when the rains combine with high tides."
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865. Skyepony (Mod)
At least one person has been killed and four others missing after floods hit a district in Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Puntland, an official said on Saturday. Awad Hussein, Puntland’s district commissioner of Armo told the local press that the floods came down from mountainous areas just outside of the district where torrential rains fell Friday night. “A pick up [truck] carrying at least four people [was[ hit and swept away by massive floods came down from the mountains outside of the Armo district” said Hussein in an interview with a local radio station. He added the four victims are still missing and feared dead, mentioning that two others private cares were swept away. Frantic efforts to rescue the missing people are still underway as Puntland authorities sent a group of its military forces to help the rescue operation in the area, according to the official. Residents n the district have expressed a deep concern about the incident, saying that if another downpour stared the whole district, which is suffering more floods right now, is at risk.
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Nothing to do with weather but my favorite word like that is pants. Drop the s and change the meaning of the word entirely and there is now way you could have two s's in a row for plural. But, I guess the same could apply to shorts... how would you have one 'short'?
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We are on broil here for the next several days in ECFL. No rain, high temps. It's already 82 degrees at 10 a.m. Good time to help Mom with her backyard garden punctuated with frequent dips in the pool :-)
ahhhh....summer!
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from Mary and Webster:

Data leads a life of its own quite independent of datum, of which it was originally the plural. It occurs in two constructions: as a plural noun (like earnings), taking a plural verb and plural modifiers (as these, many, a few) but not cardinal numbers, and serving as a referent for plural pronouns (as they, them); and as an abstract mass noun (like information), taking a singular verb and singular modifiers (as this, much, little), and being referred to by a singular pronoun (it). Both constructions are standard. The plural construction is more common in print, evidently because the house style of several publishers mandates it.
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Quoting zoomiami:
You know its getting close to that time of year when one of the first places you check in is here!

Good to see everyone - guess the end didn't take anyone from here,,, wonder what that says, hmmm?

Press -- don't you catch fishes?


not me ;-)
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You know its getting close to that time of year when one of the first places you check in is here!

Good to see everyone - guess the end didn't take anyone from here,,, wonder what that says, hmmm?

Press -- don't you catch fishes?
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Quoting pottery:

"Data" is both s. and p. I believe.
We talk of 'all the different data' (plural), and 'this piece of data' (singular).
It's like Pancakes on Sunday.
You can have one, or the others.

Good Morning...


like 'fish'
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Good Morning Everybody :)




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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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