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Corps of Engineers may raise southern crevasse to protect floodway

Sunday, June 26, 2011

NEW MADRID, Mo. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crews were assessing a possible need to raise an area in the southernmost crevasse in the Birds Point-New Madrid levee as water at the Ohio River gauge at Cairo, Ill., continues to climb toward a 41.5-foot crest forecast for early this morning.

Jim Pogue, the corps' Memphis district spokesman, said there is no certainty the Mississippi River below its confluence with the Ohio will actually overtop any part of the levee, but the corps is determining what action, if any, will need to be taken.

Pogue said the northernmost crevasse can hold back a 44-foot measurement on the Cairo gauge, while the middle crevasse, which was stabilized and heightened Thursday with a temporary berm, should hold off water when the gauge reaches between 43 and 44 feet. In the southernmost crevasse, there could be some overtopping at the highest point if the water at Cairo reaches 41.5 feet, Pogue said, but it should be minimal.

"If we start to see some water go over, it will be minor flows, meaning not a lot velocity, not a lot of water, and it would be short-lived," Pogue said.

He said the duration of any inflow of water in the southernmost crevasse would last a day or two at the most. Only a small area near the breach, for which Pogue said he was unable to give specifics for, would likely be affected.

Pogue said Saturday the corps would continue to watch river forecasts closely in the area but that it doesn't appear any action is necessary.

eragan@semissourian.com

243-6635

Pertinent address:

New Madrid, MO


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