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River Level Update

JEFFERSON PARISH (May 11, 2011) - Jefferson Parish President John Young reports at 7:00 this morning, the stage at the Carrollton Gauge in New Orleans was 17 feet. The river is expected to continue to rise to above flood stage to crest near 19.5 feet, Monday, May 23rd.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is currently discussing possible closures to navigation if the river continues to rise to within two feet of the top of the levee and the Morganza Spillway is not opened. Both East and Westbank Levee Districts continue to monitor the stability of the levee system throughout Jefferson Parish with special attention given to the two locations on the Westbank where seepage continues.

Although we are receiving indications the Mississippi River Commission is likely to approve opening the Morganza Spillway in the coming days, the potential consequences of not opening the floodway bears monitoring.

According to the USACE, if the Morganza Spillway is not opened to direct water from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya River basin, there would be additional stress on the levee system from Morganza to Plaquemines Parish, including Jefferson Parish and the New Orleans metropolitan area.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office along with the Eastbank and Westbank Levee Districts are patrolling the levees. Sheriff Newell Normand is reminding drivers not to drive vehicles on the levees. This is both dangerous, illegal, and violators face arrest.

As we continue to keep a watchful eye on the river level in Jefferson Parish, we are assured by our state and federal partners, including FEMA and the USACE, the river levels are being monitored closely along the Mississippi River throughout the region, its tributaries and other low-lying areas.

On Friday, May 6, President Obama issued an emergency declaration for Louisiana at the request of Governor Jindal. This allows FEMA to fund emergency protective measures, and FEMA reports currently it has staff in Louisiana for response to this situation.

According to FEMA, examples of emergency protective measures are warning devices, security forces, construction of temporary levees, sandbagging, bracing/shoring damaged structures, emergency demolition, removal of health and safety hazards, and provision of health and safety hazards. Requests for emergency protective measures must be made through the state.

The National Weather Service has issued a FLOOD WARNING forecasting the potential for moderate flooding for the Mississippi River at New Orleans until further notice.



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