Morganza Floodway opening postponed until June 6

Morganza Floodway opening postponed until June 6

The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) said in a news release Thursday, May 30, 2019, the opening of the Morganza Floodway planned for June 2 has been postponed until June 6, 2019. If USACE opens the floodway, it will be only the third time in history.

The Mississippi River is predicted to reach 18.2 m (60 feet) at the structure on June 9, instead of previously forecasted June 5, USACE said, adding they only intend to operate the structure when needed as to not put additional water into the Atchafalaya Basin.

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The floodway has been opened only two times since it was completed in 1954 - in 2011 and 1973.

Intended to operate during emergency flooding, the purpose of the Morganza Floodway is to divert excess floodwater from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya Basin. The floodway consists of two structures – the Morganza Control Structure and the Morganza Floodway – which are designed to pass up to 600 000 ft3 per second (cfs) [17 000 m3] of water to the Gulf of Mexico, alleviating stress for mainline levees downstream along the Mississippi River. 

Located at river mile 280 in central Louisiana, the Morganza Floodway begins at the Mississippi River, extends southward to the East Atchafalaya River levee, and eventually joins the Atchafalaya River Basin Floodway near Krotz Springs, Louisiana.

The decision to open the Morganza Floodway relies on current and projected river flows and levee conditions, river currents and potential effects on navigation and revetments, extended rain and stage forecasts, and the duration of high river stages. When river flows at the Red River Landing are predicted to reach 1.5 million cfs and rising, the Corps considers opening the Morganza Floodway.

Featured image credit: WWLTV

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