Bonnet Carre Spillway reopening amid heavy rain Friday
NEW ORLEANS - The Bonnet Carré Spillway will be opened Friday for the second time in a year, a first for the historic Mississippi River flood control channel.
Originally expected to reopen Tuesday, officials announced that the structure will reopen as early as 1 p.m. Friday. That's just over a month after the Bonnet Carré Spillway was closed on April 11.
Matt Roe, a spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers, told WWL that Friday's heavy rain could cause the river to rise above 17 feet, with a peak as high as 17.5 feet at the Carrollton Gage.
"In an abundance of caution the operation date is being moved forward to ensure the safe passage of this high water by limiting the elevations downriver of the spillway," Roe said.
The Mississippi River drains 41 percent of the U.S. mainland, and Corps officials say the past 12 months have been among the wettest on record. Floods across the Midwest have caused billions of dollars of damage to homes, farms and other businesses.
It is opened to relieve stress on New Orleans levees when the Mississippi flows at 1.25 million cubic feet per second.
The Feb. 28 opening was the 13th. It marked the first time the structure has been operated in consecutive years since it was completed in 1931.
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