News / USA

Mississippi River Floods Threaten Homes, Farms, Refineries in Louisiana

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel in an airboat in the Bonnet Carre Spillway, as workers remove some of the Bonnet Carre Spillway's wooden barriers, which serve as a dam against the high water in Norco, La., May 9, 2011
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel in an airboat in the Bonnet Carre Spillway, as workers remove some of the Bonnet Carre Spillway's wooden barriers, which serve as a dam against the high water in Norco, La., May 9, 2011
Greg Flakus

As flood waters invade fields and homes along the Mississippi River in the states of Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, officials farther south, in the state of Louisiana are preparing for the worst. Louisiana's governor is urging citizens to take action now.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still studying a proposal to open floodgates at the Morganza spillway in an effort to protect the cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans farther downstream.  But opening the floodgates would inundate farm fields, forest lands and some residences in the area.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is asking people in the potential flood zone to start preparing now instead of waiting for a final decision by the Corps of Engineers.

“Act as if the Corps is going to open the spillway.  The best thing to do is to be prepared as if that decision is coming.  I do not want people waiting; I do not want them to hesitate about whether they need to make evacuation plans or move their valuables or build these levees,” he said.

The Morganza spillway is about 75 kilometers upriver from the Louisiana capital of Baton Rouge.  Last week, the U.S. Corps of Engineers blew up a section of a levee in Missouri to protect river towns in Kentucky and Illinois, but flooding 52,000 hectares of farmland as a result.

Monday, the Corps opened the Bonne Carre spillway near New Orleans for the first time since 2008.  But the level of the Mississippi River is setting records upriver in places like Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi, where low-lying residential areas are being flooded.

But experts say the situation would have been far worse if it had not been for the levees, spillways and other controls that have been built along the river since the devastating flood of 1927 that killed more than 1,000 people and flooded large areas of the south, especially in Louisiana.

The other concern for officials monitoring the river crest is the presence of 11 oil refineries along the lower Mississippi that process about two and a half million barrels a day and supply about 13 percent of the gasoline used by motorists in the United States.

At least two of those refineries could be shut down temporarily by flooding.  Experts say if the shutdowns are short, a week or two, the effect will be moderate, but if they are shut down for many weeks there could be a prolonged rise in fuel prices.  U.S. motorists are already complaining about gasoline prices, now at the highest level since the oil price spike of 2008.

The flooding along the Mississippi and its tributaries is considered the worst in 80 years.  The cause of the flooding is snow melt and heavy rains in the northern part of the United States.  Meantime, southern plains states like Texas and Oklahoma are experiencing severe drought and high winds that have caused raging wildfires.  There has also been a record number of tornadoes along a path from Texas to Georgia that have killed more than 200 people in six states this year.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid