May 10, 2011 11:05 AM by Maddie Garrett
Governor Bobby Jindal made stops all over Acadiana Monday. In Morgan City he made one thing clear - while there are many unknowns about the impending floods - we're in for the long haul.
"The Corps has told us many areas may not see water go back to normal levels until June or July, that tells you how much water is headed our way," said Jindal.
It's not just the height of the water, but the volume and duration that has officials concerned.
"You can't wait until the water is here, now is the time to be deploying those Hesco baskets, sandbags, now is the time to be executing the plans. Not when the water's heren not when the spillway is already open," said Jindal.
Governor Jindal was talking about the Morganza Spillway. The Army Corps of Engineers still hasn't said if or when it will open the Morganza, but State officials believe it's likely it could happen as soon as this week.
"Prepare for the worst even as we hope for the best. And so we've told folks just down here, let's just assume they could open it as soon as Thursday. It could take them three days to open it and they could leave it open for at least a couple of weeks. Given those assumptions let's do what we need to do to help people get ready in case they need to evacuate," said Jindal.
A specific problem for Morgan City and surrounding areas is back water flooding.
"Water that comes down the Atchafalaya river can't get out into the Gulf fast enough so it backs up," said Bill Hidalgo, the St. Mary Levee District President.
So the St. Mary Levee District will sink a barge in the Bayou Chene and seal off the waterway to protect St. Mary and other parishes further north.
"It's one of the things that should stop the flow of water up back into the inter-coastal water way and Lake Palourde and all those other areas," said Hidalgo.
Officials said Morgan City should be protected from the floods thanks to levees and flood gates around the city. It's the unprotected areas, such as Stephensville and Amelia that are at higher risk.