Spillway stays shut as river level crests

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 7, 2005


Staff Reporter

NORCO – Despite the reading of 16.1 feet at its highest level, the Mississippi River shouldn’t be overflowing into the area.

The Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center had announced their opinion two weeks ago that the river would crest on Feb. 1.

They were pretty much on the mark, as the Feb. 2 reading at 6 a.m. read 16.1 feet at the highest stage.

“We are about to crest out right now,” said Jerry Gogreve, a hydraulic technician with the Army Corp of Engineers.

“We may get another 1/10th of an inch today, but that’s about it.”

He added that there are no plans to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway, as the current water level doesn’t present a problem.

The New Orleans flood stage is considered 17 feet.

There was some water leaking through the needles (wooden logs) in each bay, Gogreve said two weeks ago, but this was not cause for alarm.

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

The Army Corp of Engineers continues to focus on the water level of the Mississippi River in regard to flooding possibilities, keeping a close eye on the action of the Ohio and Tennessee basins.

It will be a matter of time, probably a week or so, when we see a decrease in the level of the river, added Gogreve.