News / USA

Louisiana Prepares To Cope With New Flooding

Crops and homes along the levee have started to flood, as the water starts topping over the broken levee in Lake Providence, La. on May 12, 2011.
Crops and homes along the levee have started to flood, as the water starts topping over the broken levee in Lake Providence, La. on May 12, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +

Officials in Louisiana continue preparations as the crest of flood water in the Mississippi River moves downstream, potentially threatening New Orleans and many oil and gas industry operations. Much may depend on a decision by the US Army Corps of Engineers, expected this weekend, to open a critical spillway.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said he believes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will open floodgates at the Morganza spillway, north of the state capital, Baton Rouge, this weekend and that people downstream should start moving out now.

"Based on the information we are getting from the US Army Corps of Engineers, we think it is extremely likely the spillway could be open as soon as Saturday, very likely it will be open no later than Sunday, so now is the time for our people to execute their plans," he said.

If the Corps does start opening the Morganza spillway, it will be a slow process that could take until the end of the month. Officials want to give people living downstream in the Achafalaya basin time to gather valuables and move out.

Corps of Engineers spokesperson Rachel Rodi explained the process. "The Morganza floodway has 125 floodgates that can open as needed to relieve the pressure. We are currently looking at doing a slow opening, that would mean we would only open a few gates at a time, day by day, and continue monitoring the flows and open more as needed," she said.

The idea of opening the floodgates would be to protect the more populated areas around Baton Rouge and New Orleans by diverting water from the swollen Mississippi. But opening the floodgates would spill water into thousands of hectares of farm land, forests and some residential areas.

Rodi says the Morganza spillway is just one of the tools available for controlling the overflow of water from the flooding Mississippi. "We are operating this whole thing as a system, the Mississippi river and tributary system. That is why we have the Bonne Carre spillway near New Orleans to relieve pressure in that area and we also have the Morganza spillway in this area. It is a floodway so there will be areas that will be impacted," she said.

The biggest impact from opening the Morganza floodgates could be felt at Morgan City, an oil and gas industry hub that sits near canals that open into the Gulf of Mexico. There may not be enough time to move heavy equipment and supplies to higher ground, but there is no word yet as to how much this might disrupt oil production in the Gulf.

The crest of water moving down the Mississippi river could also threaten several refineries that are located along the Mississippi in Louisiana. Flood waters could force the temporary shutdown of at least some of those refineries, which supply about 13 percent of the transportation fuel used in the United States. Exxon Mobil has already announced that it has shut off a few segments in its pipeline system in central Louisiana as a precaution until water levels subside.

President Barack Obama is expected to visit the flooding areas on Monday.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid