Previous flooding in Baton Rouge - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Previous flooding in Baton Rouge

Question:

I read the following statement regarding flooding in Baton Rouge:

 "Impact at 59.0 feet the east bank levee will be topped and the
prison farm land between the two levees will be inundated. Angola
landing will be under water closing the ferry there. All river
islands along the reach from red river landing to baton rouge will
remain inundated with recreational camps and river bottom farm land
under water."


Is baton rouge in any danger? Also, I read something where there was some flooding in Baton Rouge a few years ago; where can I find info on this? Were the levees topped? How does it look this year with the Mississippi so high right now? Any plans for morganza to open?

Answer:

First and foremost ... In spite of some of the "automated" statements issued by the NWS, Baton Rouge is in no real danger as long as the forecasts for the peak crest (now at 42.5 ft) are roughly correct.   Levees in/around Baton Rouge protect to 48-51 feet.   And before overtopping of area levees were to occur, we can presume that the Corps of Engineers would open the Morganza Spillway to our north.

The Spillway shunts water down the Atchafalaya Basin to ease the height and pressure of water in the Mississippi.   I think that the last time the Morganza Spillway was opened was in the early 1970s.   Last I heard ... There is no immediate plan to open the Morganza Spillway, but that is evaluated on almost a day-by-day basis.

The statements from the NWS have suggested that parts/areas of Baton Rouge were "flooded" in 1997.   This is misleading at best, and I'd call it just plain wrong.   I will be working with an "ad hoc" team of folks to re-write and improve the nws statements.   The heavy-handed, threatening nature of the current statements have put many, many people in our area under an unjustified level of fear.   The river was higher in 1997 than expected this go-around, and there were virtually no serious impacts in the Baton Rouge area.

However, there are places taking water, like Bayou Sara - a little neighborhood area next to St. Francisville ... And sand boils (water bubbling up from underground) are forming near the levee base along river road.   But sand boils are not a major threat to home-owner properties or the levees ... More of an inconvenience.

Hope this helps!

Jay Grymes
Chief Meteorologist
Wafb Storm Team

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