Swollen Mississippi River: Corps Activates Phase 1 Flood Fight

While we begin hurricane season on an active note the Army Corps of Engineers is focusing on the swollen Mississippi River. Vanessa Bolano reports the Corps is activating its Phase 1 flood fight.

People are taking a second look at the mighty Mississippi these days. With a swollen river to our north, flooding communities near St. Louis, people near New Orleans are wondering what’s in store for us.

“We have actively been out inspecting the levees, working with the levee districts to inspect the system for a while now,” says Mike Stack with the Army Corps of Engineers says. “What that water is going to do is make its way down here and end up extending out that flood fight for us.”

Chief Stack says the river is about three feet above normal. It has caused the Corps to activate their Phase 1 flood fight. As the river swells, they’re looking for signs of seepage, sand boils, cracks … anything that could jeopardize safety.

With the start of hurricane season the Corps is hoping the Mississippi cooperates and quickly returns to normal levels. The Corps says it’s obvious, a swollen Mississippi compounded by an incoming storm in the Gulf could spell disaster, but they do assure us the system is designed to handle both, at the same time if need be.

ms swollenThe rising river is an eerie reminder of 2011. Some Louisiana residents were forced to evacuate as the Morganza and Bonnet Carre Spillways opened.

Mother Nature has been on a wild run across the U.S. for the past few weeks. On May 20th, an EF-5 tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma devastating a community. Not even two weeks later, another EF-5 ripped through El Reno. This tornado was 2.6 miles wide, the widest ever recorded in the U.S.

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 wildfires have charred thousands of acres out West, and now Andrea becomes the first named storm just 5 days into hurricane season.

“Obviously we want to get out of high water season and start to see that low water move through as we come into hurricane season so we could focus more on that and not have to worry so much about the river,” says Stack.

So far, the Corps hasn’t had to do any major repairs. Chief Stack says the good news is, we have already crested and they are not expecting it to get any worse.