October 28, 2020

Report: Corps may be forced to open Morganza Spillway, would be only third time in 65 years

Historically high levels on the Mississippi River is causing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider opening the Morganza Spillway soon — it would only be the third time opened since it was built in 1954, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate newspaper reported.

If current forecasts hold, the newspaper reported, the spillway would be topped by the rising Mississippi River on approximately June 5.

Record flooding all along the Mississippi has put tremendous pressures on levees and other flood control structures such as the Morganza Spillway with many areas of the river being well above flood state for months.

The Corps is expected to meet again to discuss its options on Thursday morning, the newspaper reported.

The Morganza Spillway is one of many flood control methods along the river. Its purpose is to divert floodwater from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya River Basin in times of extreme high water. The spillway has only been opened twice before — in 1973 and in 2011.