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Corps executes second of three breaches in Birds Point-New Madrid floodway

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 ~ Updated 1:41 PM

This photo taken from a facility near New Madrid, Mo., shows the blast creating the second of three breaches in the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway.
(Submitted photo by Dan Buerck) [Order this photo]
The Corps of Engineers detonated the second of three levee points at 12:36 p.m. today as part of the Birds Point-New Madrid floodway plan.

The explosion took out approximately 5,500 feet of the levee near New Madrid to allow for flood water to flow back into the Mississippi River. Another such explosion is planned, but the corps has not released its plans on the timing.

Water from the Mississippi River, right, sweeps over the farmland in the Birds Point-New Madrid floodway, left, in Southeast Missouri on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. On May 2, Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh gave the order to intentionally breach the Birds Point levee, flooding over 130,000 acres of farmland to ease flooding upstream.
(Kristin Eberts)
The first breach took place Monday night along the front-line levee as a way to relieve pressure on levees upstream, particularly in Cairo, Ill. The breach that took place today was scheduled to have taken place in the overnight hours early Tuesday morning, but weather conditions postponed the action.

Corps officials have said more breaches may be necessary farther down the river.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will speak at a news conference at 1:45 p.m. in Sikeston. Corps Major General Michael Walsh will address the media at 6 p.m. tonight to give an update on the flooding situation.

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I'm in Sikeston--over 20 miles away--and heard this explosion. It rattled the plate glass windows rather well.

These levees are holding much better than anyone thought they would. My dad (who would 98 years old if still alive) told me these levees were built with mules--the dirt was scooped up, hauled and compacted with mules pulling the equipment, not tractors or bull dozers.

I doubt very seriously if they will be rebuilt with such precision, care and expertise.

-- Posted by Just_Wondering1 on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 1:33 PM

I felt/heard it too....was outdoors in Cape at about 12:40 PM

-- Posted by darkstar on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 1:54 PM

I was home for lunch when I felt it here in Cape.

-- Posted by ucme on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 2:40 PM

I felt it last night at home in Wickliffe, KY. We actually felt 3 separate "shakes" within a time frame of about a minute. I felt today's blast at work in Bardwell. Eerie feeling for sure!

-- Posted by rgsully on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 3:22 PM

Missouri, from what I could tell, was completely united against the blasting of the levee. The USA government could care less what the people want or say, it's only what the military wants. Just one ridiculous thing after another being done against the will of the people.

-- Posted by deenahz on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 3:48 PM

Also, it is expected that these blastings will cause an earthquake due to the New Madrid fault line and also the force of the water and explosions. Maybe that is what they are up to. I'm wondering because lots of places I see that the Japan earthquake was staged and this is something that would just fall in line well with the New World Order agenda and also the Illuminati.

-- Posted by deenahz on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 3:52 PM

Personally I think we all overreacted with this operation. The NMSZ is fine. We all felt some shakes but nothing major. It was not the fault line. It was the shockwaves travelling from the explosions. There is no eqarthquake threat. I know my family reported feeling the first blast. but again this was done for the common good. THe farmland will be able to produce again. When the 1811-1812 earthquakes happened, sand shot up out of the fissures created in the ground by the earthquake, the river was "reversed" and now we have Reelfoot Lake. This is what that soil is.This was not the work of some Illuminati guys in a dark basement somewhere. This operation has actually lowered the river in impacted cities, not just Cairo. The Mississippi at Cape dropped a foot I believe. NO major earthquake happened because of this. This may actually help. Besides, Where do you think the soil that it there now came from? The MISSISSIPPI. It will probably deposit soil on top.

-- Posted by computer_geek on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 4:11 PM

I live in Cape and never heard anything so people must have superpower hearing

-- Posted by capeguy30 on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 4:18 PM

@deenahz- You obviously haven't payed any attention to the upstream river stage predictions. If you would look at the hydrographs for any of the gauges upstream of New Madrid, you would see how this breech prevented the river from rising in, and potentially damaging, cities of multiple states other than Missouri. So wipe those tears and look outside of the boundaries of Missouri for a minute. There are other people being affected and it's pretty apparent that 130,000 acres of "prime" FLOODPLAIN farm ground is a small price to pay, all things considered.

-- Posted by gobbler87 on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 4:18 PM


Please share with us where information can be found that indicates that man can initiate an earthquake. Is this new?

-- Posted by bargal on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 4:34 PM

These forums really educate me:

1. I thought that there was a lot of farmland in the U.S. and now discover that the only farming in the country is limited to 130,000 acres in Southeast MO. We will no longer have any vegetables or bread - lord help us. And not only was it the only farmland, it was the best.

2. Just because you located in an area that was a spillway and you know it could be flooded at any time, you still can ***** about the unfairness and expect others to feel sorry for you.

3. Cairo is the only other city besides Cape Girardeau located on the Mississippi. And busting the levee will only affect Cairo and no other city or state.

4. All the people in Cairo are on welfare and no one who lives there works.

Amazing what you can learn.

-- Posted by ParkerDaws on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 4:48 PM


1) Run the numbers of 133,000 acres of corn at say 200 bushels an acre at $7 a bushel. Divide that by the 2800 people in that rathole and see what each one owes. Lets not worry about the billions invested in the levee or the pipelines, powerlines destroyed which Cairo should pay.

2) The only reason a levee should be blown is to save the levee itself.

3) Cairo is at mile marker 2 on the Ohio.

4) Cairo isn't worth the explosives that was used to blow the levee.

-- Posted by True-American on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 4:59 PM


I agree entirely with your first two points. And I also agree that Cape and Cairo are the only two cities being affected on the Mississippi river. But did you forget about the Ohio River? The last time I checked it was flowing into the Mississippi and was actually contributing significantly more water into the river than the Mississippi itself. Also, have you considered the tributaries of these two major rivers? Where does their water go when the Ohio and Mississippi are high? Nowhere! They back up and flood the towns near to them. So relieving the pressure at Birds Point IS positively affecting many towns other than Cairo.

-- Posted by gobbler87 on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 5:19 PM

while it may be true that breaching the levee is going to help a lot of communities along the rivers, there are a few things being left unsaid. it's not helping Metropolis which is experiencing major flooding and the crest is expected to get higher, not lower. with one of the outflow breaches done, where do you think the water is going to go. back into the river of course. communities south of the lower breach still have to worry about record crests. Caruthersville's flood wall is 50' and the crest is expected to be 49', not lower. are they gonna breach another levee to protect that town? Memphis will hit a record crest too. breaching the other levees down south won't help these places too much. what about all the snow melt from record winters in Montana, Dakotas, Minnesota and elsewhere up north combined with likely rainfall throughout May. it's gonna be a long spring and summer.

-- Posted by progdog on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 5:47 PM

Pretty impressive - the trend of the Ohio River level at Cairo over the past 24 hours - http://www2.mvr.usace.army.mil/WaterCont...

Suggest to consider the rate of rise before the Birds Point operation, and the 4-foot benefit talked about seems almost reasonable between where things could have been under the "do-nothing" plan, to where they currently are.

While the sharing of technical information has been limited - the mention of three other designated floodways makes me wonder if the Operating Plan is a well thought-out, coordinated effort to 'walk' the surge downstream. Already been observed that the upstream neighbors have held their 'bladders' til almost the bursting point to support the efforts here.

-- Posted by fxpwt on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 7:35 PM

to fxpwt

walking the surge downstream is about the only option there is but there's a lot of river between New Madrid and the next step. I'm not griping. I think everyone is doing the best they can to avoid catastrophe. I just hope conditions don't arise that led to 1993 on top of what's already happened. I'm sure it's a nightmare for the Corps because they know full well the potential problems that may lie ahead.

-- Posted by progdog on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 8:41 PM

fxpwt...where is that giant Stag can at? I would like to make a pilgrimage there....

-- Posted by DrummingFireman on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 9:35 PM

The aftermath and long term consequences of this action on the 130,000+/-acres of productive ground is monumental and catastrophic. The aftermath and long term consequences on Cairo: another round of out-stretched palms for a handout from taxpayer$ for a "city" that has no redeeming social or economic value in contrast to what was lost across the river. Cairo was/is not worth the C-4 (or whatever used) to blow the levees. The entire Nat'l Flood Protection Act need to be re-written so this type of political correctness ends; and, states can protect their interests against federal "oversight." Leave the sinkholes in Cairo as its monument to tragedy.

-- Posted by Bearcat66 on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 9:40 PM

Apparently there are just a lot of ignorant people in SEMO. It was NOT all about Cairo! Can you people not read? Duh.

-- Posted by FarmBoy06 on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 9:44 PM

It's so good to know that there are many engineers on this site. I'm sure that you have lots of schooling in the subject. Oops, I don't really think any of you who are hammering the Corps knows anything about the floodway system. Bottom line is, these guys are professionals. If they believe that the levee needed to be breached, then a common sense person should agree. I feel for the folks who were displaced; I feel for the economic problems in Mississippi County it will cause; I feel for the farmers who won't be able to farm the land for possibly several years. However, this is an historic occurance; there's nothing good to report. Let it go and move foreward. Someone, in a post last night, said that you can't get dry till the wet is over. This, too, will pass.

-- Posted by JungleJim on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 11:08 PM

Drumming Fireman - http://www.roadsideamerica.com/map/17066

-- Posted by fxpwt on Wed, May 4, 2011, at 6:18 PM

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