Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More Water. Lots More Water.

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Mississippi River 2011-05-01 1

The Mighty Mississippi rises again. The average water's edge is somewhere around the gray stone pier of Eads Bridge beyond the archway. The dots in the foreground are the top of concrete bollards at the side of the last city street before the cobblestone levee. Note the barge struggling upstream against the enormous flow.

There was a particularly sad consequence of this spring's floods last night. Downriver from here at the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers is the sad little town of Cairo, Illinois (locally pronounced KAY-row). Once a booming river junction, it is now a poor, tattered village of 3,200. The levee is about to fail, after which the river would engulf the town. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the levees, has chosen to literally blow up a section of levee nearby on the Missouri side of the river (map here), inundating 130,000 acres / 53,000 hectares of flat farmland and about 300 homes. This will take the pressure off the Cairo levee and save the town. Yesterday, the U. S. Supreme Court rejected a request for an emergency restraining order. Mid-day Tuesday update with photos of the levee breach in the local newspaper here. Dire choices.


There is another illustration of this on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Mississippi River 2011-05-01 2 (Visit Your Arch)



8 comments:

Olivier said...

c'est vraiment impressionnant, surtout au debut du mois de Mai, on a vu cela a la television fran├žaise cela fait peur

cieldequimper said...

Mismanagement of rivers? Scary.

Lynette said...

So much terror, sadness, and feeling helpless for so many people.

brattcat said...

your mississippi is a dangerous, moody creature with a mind of its own. when you arrive in menton, leave your heart open and the rich experiences will rush right in. i loved wandering the streets in menton, gorbio, roquebrunne, and nice. bring extra memory cards and a battery charger. you'll need them.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Your post illustrates the tough choices. Building levees on both sides of the river all the way down changes if from a river to a drainage canal. The environment and wildlife need the wetlands, which also enrich the soil for agriculture. But certainly no one owning or living in the bottom land wants to e flooded. I just heard on CNN that the Army Corps of Engineers is about to go ahead with breaching the levee.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

I remember your pictures from last year. Is spring flooding always the norm?

Hilda said...

Civilization as we know it might not have emerged if it weren't for rivers flooding annually, but it is still scary. And with our comparatively permanent structures, tough decisions and engineering nightmares for governments. Wishing everyone there the best of luck.

Kevin B said...

The Corp of Engineers is going off the playbook built by the residents of Prairie du Rocher, IL in 1993 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie_du_Rocher,_Illinois#United_States). Of course, in that case the lowland farmers agreed to the dynamite -- which resulted in some VERY rich topsoil and sediment once the waters resided.