Miss. River forecasts likely won’t lead to opening of Morganza Spillway

Miss. River forecasts likely won’t lead to opening of Morganza Spillway
Mississippi River Bridge (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The latest river forecasts for Baton Rouge from the NWS Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center (LMRFC) calls for a crest at 44 feet next week. This forecast could change in the coming days.

In 2011, the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge edged just over 45 feet, causing among the largest and most damaging flooding recorded along the river in the past century.

The high river levels have many concerned about whether the Corps of Engineers will open the Morganza Spillway, which could be a nightmare for the Atchafalaya Basin.

Any decision to begin opening the spillway to divert additional Mississippi River flow into the Atchafalaya Basin is based on how fast the river flows.

There is a connection between the height, or stage, of the river, and the speed, or discharge. At this point, it appears unlikely the river will achieve the “trigger” discharge of a sustained 1.5 million cubic-feet-per-second (1.5Mcfs) for the Corps of Engineers to employ a Morganza Spillway option.

How much water is 1.5Mfcs? More than 11 million gallon jugs passing by Baton Rouge every second!

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