Saturday, May 28, 2011

As Mississippi River recedes, flood warning lifted for New Orleans

John Pope in the Times-Picayune: Based on a drop in the level of the swollen Mississippi River, the National Weather Service on Friday canceled its weeks-long flood warning for New Orleans and points downriver. Despite this development for south Louisiana, the weather service’s flood warning remains in effect for points upriver, including Baton Rouge, where levee seepage has led the state Office of Transportation and Development to close River Road’s southbound lane from North Third Street to State Capitol Drive.

In New Orleans, the river’s flood stage is 17 feet, but the weather service saw no reason to maintain the flood warning as the Mississippi’s level dropped to 16.8 feet, where it is expected to stay through Monday before dropping another 0.1 foot on Tuesday, said Jeff Graschel, service coordination hydrologist for the weather service.

There are several reasons for the change, he said, including falling levels upstream and the Bonnet Carre and Morganza spillways’ ability to divert some of the flow. As a result of these factors, Graschel said, “we’re going to keep (the water level) right below flood stage.” The levee system in New Orleans protects the city from water levels as high as 20 feet….

In New Orleans, some levee repair post-Katrina in the Industrial Canal, shot by Stephen Marchetti, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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