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PRESS RELEASE

River Level Update

JEFFERSON PARISH (May 12, 2011) - Jefferson Parish President John Young reports the level of the Mississippi River is continuing to rise and is expected to crest near 19.5 feet at the Carrollton Gauge Monday, May 23rd. It is reported the river level at New Orleans has risen approximately an inch in the past 24 hours.

West Jefferson Levee District officials are currently attempting to enforce the removal of barge traffic located near their levee system.

The U.S. Coast Guard is making plans to limit navigation to the river with the exception of tug boats supporting the river fight when stages reach 18 feet.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has pre-staged containment supplies and equipment in the region for use by the levee districts, if needed.

The National Weather Service is projecting the Carrollton Gauge will measure the level of the Mississippi River at 17.5 feet on Sunday, and by Monday, 17.9 feet is expected. Levee districts throughout the region are planning to close flood gates when river stages reach 18 feet. Forecasters report tomorrow's expected rainfall will have little effect on the levees or river level, according to the National Weather Service.

It is expected, opening an additional 50 bays at the Bonnet Carre Spillway, bringing the total number of bays open after today to 160, will be effective in reducing stress on the levee system. All eyes are monitoring the Morganza Spillway. The USACE says a decision could be made by late tomorrow whether to open the floodway, depending on river flow rate and pressure on the levees.

In the meantime, while we are assured Jefferson Parish may not be at significant risk for flooding, out of an abundance of caution, FEMA is encouraging individuals to follow directions of their local officials. As potential for flood conditions continue to change throughout the region, if told to evacuate, residents should follow evacuation routes announced by local officials and stay away from river banks and streams. An emergency supply kit should include drinking water, a first-aid kit, canned food, a radio, flashlight, blankets, and important documents, including flood insurance documents. Keep these items in a waterproof container.


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