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Rising Mississippi prompts spillway opening near New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin opening a historic flood control structure near New Orleans this week to divert water from a rain-swollen Mississippi River.
  
Wednesday's planned opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway will mark the first time the structure has been operated in consecutive years. It will be the 13th time it's been used since construction was completed in 1931.
  
The opening will divert some of the flow from the rising Mississippi into Lake Pontchartrain, easing stresses on levees that protect New Orleans.
  
The spillway will be opened in anticipation of the river reaching a rate of 1.25 million cubic feet per second at New Orleans. It's anticipated the diversion will continue for at least a month.

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