Morganza Spillway to open Saturday

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -- The Morganza spillway will open sometime Saturday. The decision came down from seven members of the Mississippi river commission on Friday. The corps says it will open the spillway when the river flow reaches a certain point, but an exact timing wasn't known. However, sources tell WAFB it could happen Saturday at 3:00 PM.

Opening the gates would divert water from the Mississippi to the Atchafalaya, thus reducing the pressure on levees in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  If the spillway had remained closed and the levees had failed, New Orleans could've been under as much as 20 feet of water. But for those 25,000 people in the path of what will be a torrent of water, the time to evacuate and leave behind three million soon to be flooded acres is now.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal stressed there will be little notice between now the when the switch is pulled to open some of the locks.

"Now is the time to take action, you can certainly hope and pray for the best, but if your in the northern part of the spillway now is the time to evacuate your valuables...your loved ones...be thinking about where you want to go, and if you have pets, if you have livestock, now is the time to be doing that, " said Governor Jindal.

Major General Michael Walsh, head of the Mississippi River Commission, has the final say as to whether to open the Spillway.

He has scheduled a 1:00 PM news conference at the spillway control structure Saturday.