View Full Version : U.S. Issues US Army Corps detonates explosives on flood levee

05-03-2011, 06:15 AM
BIRDS POINT, Mo | Mon May 2, 2011 11:20pm EDT

BIRDS POINT, Mo May 2 (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Monday detonated explosives to blow a hole in a flood levee on the Mississippi River and save several towns from being inundated, including Cairo, Illinois.

Six plumes of flame rose from the area of the explosion and a loud boom was heard at about 10 p.m. local time, a Reuters journalist near the site of the action said.

By blowing up the levee, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hopes to allow the Mississippi River to cope with the rising waters of the Ohio River, relieving Cairo and other towns threatened with massive flooding.

Both rivers have been rising as a result of days of rain and the melt and runoff of heavy winter snowstorms.

But destroying the levee is expected to flood more than 100,000 acres of farmland in Missouri. The state tried unsuccessfully to get several courts, including the Supreme Court, to block the move.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Greg McCune)

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05-03-2011, 06:17 AM
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05-03-2011, 06:19 AM
sounds like it was necessary.

05-03-2011, 06:38 AM
I figured this thread was going to be about how this inside job was actually the work of terrorists.

05-03-2011, 06:43 AM
I figured this thread was going to be about how this inside job was actually the work of terrorists.

You mean a secret plot to drive up the levee rebuilding industry.

05-03-2011, 06:46 AM
Lots of conspiracy theorists in here.

05-05-2011, 01:18 AM
Levee explosion may cost farmers in southeast Missouri $300 million

BY GEORGINA GUSTIN ggustin@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8195 STLtoday.com | Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 12:05 am | (12)

When the Army Corps of Engineers blew up the Birds Point levee in southeast Missouri late Monday, water gushed onto 130,000 acres of farmland, drowning crops — and hopes for a good farming season.

"I've got 8,000 acres underwater. I've got a winter wheat crop underwater. I've got corn that's 4 inches high underwater," said Ed C. Marshall, who farms wheat, corn, soybeans and grain sorghum in the area. "I was six weeks away from harvesting that wheat."

The corps-engineered deluge also swamped millions of dollars in farm infrastructure, from culverts to irrigation pivots. Tens of thousands of gallons of diesel and liquid fertilizer sit in flooded tanks.

"In that spillway, all the structures are going to be gone," said Blake Hurst, head of the Missouri Farm Bureau. "Roads, bridges, center point irrigation pivots are all going down the river."

The corps dynamited the levee to relieve mounting pressure on the flood control systems guarding more populated areas upriver, particularly Cairo, Ill. But the decision exacted a heavy price: Some early estimates put the damage at $300 million. Hurst says he believes that's low, predicting the crop damage alone to be around the $100 million mark.

Hurst and others stress that, while the explosion flooded 130,000 acres in the spillway near the levee, an additional 100,000 in the area are underwater from the 20 inches of rain that have fallen in the past two weeks.

"This is going to make a tremendous difference to our production," Hurst said. "It's a big enough event to drive up crop prices."

For farmers hoping to capture income from near-record crop prices, the flooding comes at a particularly bad time.

"With prices where they are now, we were looking at some real good years," Marshall said. "We're talking about $6 corn, $7 wheat, $12 soybeans. We could be buying equipment, putting up pivots. It's going to have a huge impact on our incomes."

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that crop insurance will cover the farmers, despite the fact that the flooding was, in effect, "man-made." (Crop insurance policies only reimburse policyholders for acts of nature.) But farmers say they usually don't have policies that cover them for potential profits, only for the loss of input costs.

Farmers have also sold some of their crops on the futures market, and some worry that they won't be able to deliver.

"I don't have crops to take to the elevator because the corps decided to blow my levee," Marshall said.

Farmers also worry that some areas may be so damaged they can't be farmed for years. The Great Flood of 1993 left so much sand and silt that some farmland is still out of commission.

"We don't know what the outcome's going to be when the water recedes," said Steve Jones, a farmer and Mississippi County commissioner.


05-05-2011, 08:14 AM
I know the water here Western Ky is backing up really fast. We have had flooded streams, rivers and farm land for 1 1/2 weeks and it's getting worst. I'm 30 miles from the Ohio River and it is causing havoc everywhere here. Numerous road closing here with some farmers still blocked in due to flooding.

I-40 is shutdown in parts of Arkansas and the bulk of the water isn't there yet.

05-05-2011, 08:15 AM
Folks, you can expect sharp prices at the stores very soon.

05-05-2011, 10:29 PM
Mississippi floods force evacuations near Memphis

By John Branston John Branston – 2 hrs 5 mins ago

MEMPHIS, Tenn (Reuters) – The rising Mississippi river lapped over downtown Memphis streets on Thursday as a massive wall of water threatened to unleash near record flooding all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Water lapped over Riverside Drive and onto Beale Street in Memphis, and threatened some homes on Mud Island, a community of about 5,000 residents with a river theme park. The island connects to downtown Memphis by a bridge and causeway.

Emergency officials in Millington near Memphis were "going door-to-door, asking people to leave," according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

Large amounts of rain and melt from the winter snow has caused a chain reaction of flooding from Canada and the Dakotas through Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee. It is expected to soon hit Mississippi and Louisiana at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

"The flood is rolling down, it is breaking records as it moves down and it is one of those wait-and-see type of things as to how massive it is going to be when it's all said and done," said Charles Camillo, historian for the Mississippi River Commission and the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project.

In Arkansas, westbound traffic on a section of one of the nation's major trucking arteries, Interstate 40, was closed for a second day due to flooding.

The White River was expected to crest at its highest ever level of 40 feet at Des Arc, Arkansas on Thursday night, breaking a 1949 record.

A levee overflowed near the White River, forcing a mandatory evacuation of the town of Cotton Plant, the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said.

Officials at the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, that includes Memphis, predicted that the flood could affect 2,832 properties if it crests at 48 feet this coming weekend.

A crest of 48 feet would be the river's highest level since 1937, according to the National Weather Service. The service currently puts the river level at Memphis at 45.21 feet, with an expected rise to 47.6 feet by Monday morning.

The flooding is also affecting towns not directly on the Mississippi. Residents in south Dyersburg, Tenn., about 20 miles from the Mississippi, have been asked to evacuate because of the projected crest of the North Fork of the Forked Deer River, which runs into the big river.

North of Memphis upstream, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blew up a third section of a Missouri levee Thursday afternoon to let flood waters back into the Mississippi.

The Corps blew up a two-mile section of the Birds Point levee Monday night to help ease flooding in Illinois and Kentucky. The levee destruction resulted in the flooding of 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland. The Corps then blew up two smaller sections of the levee Tuesday and Thursday to let water back in the river.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday declared parts of Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee as disaster areas due to flooding. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Thursday requested that Obama make a major disaster declaration for the state as a result of high winds, tornadoes and flooding since April 19.

The levee system in Mississippi is holding for now but it has never been tested like this before, officials said.

"Compared to the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 this flood is going to be a lot nastier," said Marty Pope, senior hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Jackson, Miss.

The river is predicted to crest at 64.5 feet on May 17 in the Vicksburg, Miss. area. Vicksburg has a flood stage of 48 feet, which means the river will crest more than 16 feet above normal, according to flood experts at the National Weather Service.

The flood waters will reach more than a foot above the Yazoo Backwater Levee near Yazoo City, Miss. and this will flood thousands of acres of farmland, said Pope.

There were major floods on the Mississippi in 1927, 1937, 1973, 1993 and 2008. The 1927 flood caused up to 1,000 deaths and left 600,000 homeless. Floodways were adopted as a response.

Camillo said it was too early to estimate expected damage from the 2011 flooding. He noted that much has changed since the 1927 flood, including the structure of the levees and the addition of dozens of reservoirs throughout the Mississippi River basin and floodways.

The Mississippi has four floodways: Birds Point and three spillways in Louisiana.

"There is a very good possibility that we would operate three floodways ... and we have never done that before," Camillo said.

(Additional reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis, Tim Ghianni in Nashville, Suzi Parker in Little Rock and Leigh Coleman in Biloxi, Mississippi; Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Greg McCune)