River level has officials staying wary

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 24, 2005


Staff Reporter

NORCO – The Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center has revised its opinion in the past week regarding the cresting of the Mississippi River.

Currently, it is predicting the river will be at its highest level of 16 feet at the end of this month, according to Jerry Gogreve, a hydraulic technician with the Army Corp of Engineers.

The New Orleans flood stage is considered 17 feet.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Bonne Carre Spillway will open its gates, although there is currently some water leaking through the needles (wooden logs) in each bay, Gogreve added.

But the situation is not at a crisis point.

The last time the spillway was opened was in March 1997. It remained unlocked for 31 days, following heavy rains in the Ohio and Tennessee valleys.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is focusing on the weather as they look toward the end of January, regarding the level of the Mississippi River and what that means to River Parish residents, in terms of flooding possibilities.

“We are at a wait-and-see point,” said Gogreve. “We are keeping a close eye on the Ohio and Tennessee basins.”