Morgan City flooding depends on Morganza Spillway - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Morgan City flooding depends on Morganza Spillway

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MORGAN CITY, LA (WAFB) -

Lake Palourde literally sits in the backyard of the Lakeside subdivision in Morgan City. Whether it floods in Morgan City or not depends on the Morganza Spillway.

Last Wednesday, the Morganza Fore Bay was all dry farmland. Five days later, people are now fishing and a snake is slithering in a flooded Fore Bay that's just feet from the top of the spillway.

Without the gates opening, there's already some seepage.

If the gates don't open, officials said the water in the Fore Bay will actually spill over the structure by two feet.

If they do open, it would reduce the expected crest along the Mississippi River, causing record crests on the Atchafalaya River.

"If they open the Morganza Spillway, we're in deep trouble," said Morgan City resident Jerry Cunningham.

That's why the Army Corps of Engineers is putting up two miles of Hesco baskets in Morgan City.

"We are raising our levees with these Hesco baskets to give us an added protection from the expected backwater levels," said city manager Carl Kramer.

Kramer said Lake Palourde is already swollen by an additional two to three feet. If the Morganza Spillway opens, it could rise three more feet. The last record flood for Morgan City was in 1973.

Cunningham was in the city for that. "The predictions are it's going to be worse than '73, so I have to be go along with that," he said.

At the city's nursing home in '73...

"The water was at the door, but it didn't get to the door. It just came to the building and it receded," said Loretta Duchan, employee at Morgan City Health Care Center.

This time, if there's a breach or any seepage from the manmade levee, nursing home officials said nearly 80 patients will be evacuated to Franklin.

So as they build up to take on Mother Nature, they're preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

"The expected level this time will exceed what was here in 1973," said Kramer.

Along with the Hesco baskets in Morgan City, 2,000 feet of Hesco baskets will also go up in Amelia. No official evacuations have been issued for Morgan City.

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