Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Flooding in Louisiana Update

It's been nearly a week since the Morganza spillway was opened in Louisiana;  I've done several aggregations and updates of flooding but it's been a couple of days since I've posted.  I'm down to 1.5 days left of finals  before my summer vacation begins (and regular blogging resumes).  It's probably time to see how my southern neighbors are holding up down there.

There was a live web chat with meteorologist Hank Allen from WGNO in New Orleans which you can replay here (as long as the link holds). 

As of 5/19, there are 17 of the 125 bays in the Morganza spillway that have been opened.

WAFB has video of the water's progression into the Atchafalaya basin:

The water there is two different shades. The muddier-colored water is believed to be the leading edge of the water being diverted from the Mississippi River.  It has now reached about four or five miles south of Interstate 10 on the eastern side.  Areas near there that had been dry are now seeing water.  Over the Atchafalaya Basin, the water is up near camps that line the western side.  So far, none are inundated with water. It is still several feet away from the homes.

There is one man left in Butte La Rose which is expected to begin flooding tomorrow; well, there may be more, but there's at least one.  He's disabled and says he has no place to go.  He may turn out okay, though, as this report indicates flooding may not be as bad as expected there.  (This map is outdated as far as flood times go, but it's useful in showing where everything is.)

The National Weather Service has dropped the crest level of the Atchafalaya River at Butte La Rose from 27 feet to 24.5 Friday May 27.  This means that fewer areas will flood in and around the Butte La Rose area northward through Krotz Springs...Flooding of some areas will still be possible however through the first week of June but water levels may be significantly lower as compared with the original Army Corps of Engineers forecast.

A huge concern, of course, remains backwater flooding as a result of the opening of the spillway.  Towns like Morgan City and Berwick are still waiting.

Your daily silver lining:  this might actually be good for the crawfish crop.

Tulane University has launched an interactive flood map

NOLA has a NASA photograph of the muddy floodwaters emptying into Lake Ponchartrain..

Blogging buddy The Daily Mush has another Louisiana blogger perspective:

Butte la Rose is going under, but it’s not a “town” to speak of, it’s a collection of houses and camps, perhaps a 100 in all, at the end of a dead end road. And anyone who ever lived there knew quite well that they were in an area where water levels go up and down. So those people know what to do. And of the 3,000,000 acres flooded, only some 18,000 acres are farmland. And there’s supposedly 2,500 to 11,000 structures in flood’s way, depends on who counts what and how high the water goes where. Except, well, most of those are farm buildings, of course, and “camps.” And camps are the weekend homes of city dwellers. And the camps are often raised up on stilts precisely because everyone out there knows there’s flooding to contend with, even in a dry year. And so all the hand wringing over “Cajun Country” being flooded is just poor reporting. Go get a map for heaven’s sake, could it be that hard?

Here is St. Francisville's landmark Oyster Bar:

A video of Vidalia:

As always, check back for updates.  The Dead Pelican is good to watch as well,.

Previous updates and aggregations here.

Photo credit (top left):  NOLA

1 comment:

Jim Hlavac said...

Thank you for referencing my blog in your post. Always nice to know that perhaps I have a different perspective that warrants noting. I read and heard so many reports from many quarters, blogs, local news and national MSM, about "Cajun Country" flooding, and it bugged me. I know this area intimately.

As a former member of both the La. Crawfish & Alligator Farmers Associations, and the Governor's Conferences on Tourism I know Acadiana intimately, and I think it's safe to say I've been to every town and down every road in the area. I'm not that unfamiliar with Shreveport, either, by the way, having done business often with Preston Friedly who was head of the tourist commission up there for years, years ago, if memory serves. I've even "climbed" Driscoll Mountain -- our highest point in this flood prone mush and swamp.

Which is why I tried to educate my readers, and several were surprised to find out some facts on the matter. I always find national reporting on Louisiana to be woefully deficient and New Orleans centric. And local news to barely know what goes on 80 miles away.

And people should know that Cajun Country is 22 to 24 parishes -- 1/3 of the state, and most of it is in a different watershed than the Mississippi. Even many Louisianians don't realize that the rivers of Acadiana, other than the Atchafalaya -- have nothing to do with the Mississippi.

But again, thanks for your reference to me.

Jim Hlavac
the daily mush.