The Latest: 2nd Mississippi River spillway could cost crops

May 23, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on rising Mississippi River (all times local):

4:36 p.m.

Louisiana’s agriculture commissioner says that if a second Mississippi River spillway must be opened, it would wipe out crops on about 25,000 acres (1,000 hectares) of land. Mike Strain says he has notified farmers to move equipment and livestock out of the area.

He spoke Thursday at a news conference with Gov. John Bel Edwards and other officials.

If Army Corps of Engineers opens the Morganza Floodway west of Baton Rouge, it would be for only the third time. Edwards says it would pass about 60,000 cubic feet (1,700 cubic meters) of water per second. Edwards says that’s considerably less than in 2011, the last time the structure was opened.

If rain elsewhere reaches current forecasts, the floodway would be opened to keep the river from overtopping it and making it impossible to operate.


2:40 p.m.

With high water setting records on the Mississippi River, officials say they may have to open a spillway west of Baton Rouge for the third time ever. A spillway north of New Orleans is already open.

Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Ricky Boyett says the Morganza Spillway might be opened partway to keep the river from overtopping it and making it impossible to open further. He says that if rain elsewhere reaches current forecasts, that could happen June 2.

National Weather Service hydrologist Kai Roth says the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge has set flood stage longevity records at Baton Rouge and at Natchez, Mississippi. He says the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois, also has been at flood stage for a record number of days.

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