Dec 22, 2011 12:44 PM by Release
A little more than a week after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers activated the first phase of flood fight procedures to monitor levees along the Mississippi River, rising water levels have now prompted the start of phase one inspections along the Atchafalaya Basin Protection Levees in the southern portion of the Atchafalaya Basin.
The New Orleans District, in close coordination with local levee authorities, will begin patrolling the levees in and around the Morgan City and Berwick areas. Inspect ions are set to begin this week and will continue weekly while the water levels remain high. Last week, teams began inspecting the Mississippi River levees between Baton Rouge and Venice.
Phase one is a proactive measure that is triggered when the Mississippi River reaches 11 feet and rising at the Carrollton gauge and when the Atchafalaya River reaches 5 feet and rising at the Morgan City gauge. The levee patrols help to ensure that the Corps and the local levee authorities can respond quickly to any problem areas that may develop along the levee system due to the elevated water levels.
The current water level of the Mississippi River at the Carrollton gauge is 12.4 feet. The National Weather Service's latest forecast predicts a crest of 12.9 feet on December 24 at the Carrollton gauge. The Atchafalaya River has a current water level of 5.06 feet at the Morgan City gauge and is currently forecasted to crest tomorrow at 5.3 feet. Water levels are expected to remain elevated on both river systems into January.
With the current forecast, the Corps does not anticipate a need to open the Bonnet Carré Spillway or Morganza Floodway at this time.
During high river stages, the Corps and the State of Louisiana enforce established safe distances for certain types of work that can adversely affect the integrity of the federal levees and structures.