Saturday, May 7, 2011

dare to dance the tides

This time last year our community was effected by the tragic wellhead explosion on the BP rig and the subsequent oil gusher. To help keep the oil at bay, the freshwater diversion at Violet Canal was opened at an increased rate; the diversion helped keep the oil out of some estuaries, but the change in salinity effected others.

 Now, the Mississippi River is rising," just like she used to do ".

 Yet this year the river is challenging all communities along her banks and will soon test the old river structure north of Baton Rouge.

The State of Louisiana has notified residents along the Morganza River ~ Spillway to prepare to evacuate as the state plans to open the Marganza Floodway for the first time since 1973.

The Mississippi River will also be diverted through another floodway, the Bonnie Carrie Spillway, which will carry the river into the Lake Pontchartrain, Lakes Catherine and Borgne, and out into the Gulf of Mexico.  Essentially, the fresh waters of the Mississippi River will replace the brackish lake waters, effecting the estuaries once again this year.

In St Bernard Parish, adjacent to the ExxonMobil refinery, the Chalmette Ferry terminal  has noted levee seepage and the Army Corps and local officials are working today to address the river seepage with sand berms. Local news media have reported river level issues at Domino Sugars  refinery in Arabi, as one would expect any of the various industries along the river to have particular challenges with the rising river levels' effects on the docks and facilities.

 The flood gage upriver from Chalmette is the Carrollton (New Orleans) flood gage, which measures 15.63 feet today.  Flood level at Carrollton is 17 feet and the levees are constructed to protect up to a 20 foot flood range; the Mississippi River is expected to crest at 19.5 feet  May 22nd and remain at high levels for three weeks. The 19.5 foot crest is based on the opening of the Bonnie Carrie; for further protection, the Army Corps plans to open the Morganza Floodway as well.
select water levels by "New Orleans District" and the district basin "Mississippi River & Passes"  .
It's going to get very interesting, very soon.

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