Pat Shingleton: "The Big Muddy..."
The U.S. Army Corps of engineers cranked open the Old River Overbank Structure yesterday. The Overbank Structure is one of three Old River Control Complex structure is designed to relieve pressure when river levels increase and has been opened 15 times since 1990. All water rising here is because of water dropped up there. "Up there" refers to the northern stretches of the Mississippi and Missouri tributaries where an El Nino year has offered warm weather and above average rainfall amounts. As for the Red River Landing reading, yesterday it was at 48 feet which is flood stage and is expected to sour to 62 and-a-half feet by January 19th. Years ago the Ole' Beachcomber, Bob Scearce would share his expertnesses in pulling his camp or trailer out of the area when the river was rising, The Big Muddy in Baton Rouge will top out at 44 feet on January 19th with Flood Stage here at 35. Our levee system protects the city to 47 feet. Here is an excerpt of a column I wrote for the Advocate in May of 2011 when the control structures were opened, I provided live shots from the "steps" leading from the levee to the river bank in Baton Rouge. "The level of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge will touch the 44.8 foot mark today. Our live weather casts at 6:00 PM since May 5th have checked the levels in Baton Rouge on a “step-by-step” basis. Step one is the 35 foot flood stage and the 13th or top step at 48.0 feet. Last night we noted that at a level of 44.8’ the water rose between steps nine and ten. This flooding episode will be logged as the third highest river level preceded by the Great Flood of 1927 at 47.28’ and dual episodes in 1922 and 1945 at 45.18’. In 1945 the level reached 44.58. With the threat of ‘over-topping” removed from the scenario, the next 45 days will find experts watching for increased seepage and sand boils."