Morganza Spillway likely to be opened for third time in history

Morganza Spillway (Source: WAFB)
Morganza Spillway (Source: WAFB)
Updated: May. 22, 2019 at 8:39 PM CDT
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MORGANZA, La. (WAFB) - With a forecast for additional rises along the Lower Mississippi River during the next two weeks, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now anticipating the opening of the Morganza Spillway to accommodate the excess water. This will be only the third time the Corps has operated the spillway for flood management purposes. The last opening was in May of 2011.

It appears the Corps could start opening the spillway as early as June 2, assuming the latest river forecasts are accurate. Residents and operators in and along the Morganza Floodway, as well as officials serving communities in and around the Atchafalaya Basin, began receiving word of the possible opening Wednesday, May 22.

At the same time, state and local authorities are making plans to sink a barge in Bayou Chene, located southeast of Morgan City. The barge will serve as a temporary floodgate to reduce the flow of backwater into Assumption and lower Iberville parishes. Similar temporary solutions for Bayou Chene were employed in 2011 and 2016, and are a necessity given the additional water that will flow into the Atchafalaya Basin with the activation of the spillway.

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