Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How does the Mississippi River change when the levee breaks?

Date:
May 6, 2011
Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Summary:
USGS scientists are measuring the amount of water spilling into the New Madrid floodway as a result of the recent intentional breaching of the Birds Point Levee in Missouri. The measurements are critical for estimating how much water downstream levees will need to hold back and for predicting flood crest heights, as the remaining flood waters pass through the Mississippi River.

USGS scientists are measuring the amount of water spilling into the New Madrid floodway as a result of the recent intentional breaching of the Birds Point Levee in Missouri. The measurements are critical for estimating how much water downstream levees will need to hold back and for predicting flood crest heights, as the remaining flood waters pass through the Mississippi River.

Related Articles


"In order to protect lives and property during flooding the federal government, states, emergency managers and communities need to have the best information possible to understand how the water will react when a levee breaks," said Bob Holmes, USGS National Flood Hazard Coordinator. "While flood measurements are never routine, the recent breaching of the levee at Birds Point and the rush of the Mississippi River into the New Madrid floodway calls for highly unusual flow measurements -- information that is a key part of management actions to alleviate upstream flooding in the vicinity of Cairo, Ill. and other areas along the Mississippi River."

Up to date information about USGS data collection at the Birds Point-New Madrid floodway is available online (water.usgs.gov/osw/floods/today/BPNM_measurement.html)

In preparation for the breeching USGS field crews installed 38 storm surge sensors, originally developed after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to measure storm surges. These temporary sensors will measure water flowing into the Birds Point-New Madrid floodway. The USGS is also sampling the floodwater for various chemical contaminants in newly inundated fields and farms.

While the levee breach is helping to reduce flooding of communities along the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers, it may also create unusual flow conditions that could impact barge traffic near the breach, as outward flowing water alters river currents. These new, complex river currents are being mapped daily by USGS. The maps will enable the barge traffic to avoid the fastest currents and adjust ship routes to account for the new currents.

Real-time data on river flows and depths are continually needed to forecast incoming flows and flooding threats. The USGS is the nation's primary collector of river flow information that feeds flood forecasts and decisions related to flood-fighting taking place along the Mississippi River and elsewhere.

"While the USGS routinely monitors and documents flooding and provides the streamflow information needed to inform developmental plans and land use decisions, this documentation effort below the levee is extraordinary for its scope, intensity and innovative use of new technologies," said Holmes. "USGS has a unique opportunity to collect data that increases our understanding of the hydraulics of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. This data will be critical in future flood forecasts."

The work is being conducted in close cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and many state and local agencies. The National Weather Service refines river forecasts, the Corps of Engineers adjusts flood-control reservoir releases, the Coast Guard issues shipping directives and advisories, and local communities prepare for floods based on USGS river measurements.

The USGS collects river data through its network of about 7,700 streamagages around the Nation. You can receive instant, customized updates about water conditions, including flooding, by subscribing to USGS WaterAlert (water.usgs.gov/wateralert)

General flood information is available online (www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/2011/04/21/flooding-spring-2011/)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by U.S. Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

U.S. Geological Survey. "How does the Mississippi River change when the levee breaks?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110506111111.htm>.
U.S. Geological Survey. (2011, May 6). How does the Mississippi River change when the levee breaks?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110506111111.htm
U.S. Geological Survey. "How does the Mississippi River change when the levee breaks?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110506111111.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Storm Means Dangerous Driving in South

Winter Storm Means Dangerous Driving in South

AP (Feb. 26, 2015) A new winter storm is stretching across the south, making travel treacherous throughout the region. (Feb. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New York City Surrounded by Ice Floes

New York City Surrounded by Ice Floes

AP (Feb. 25, 2015) The freezing temperatures that have plagued much of the eastern U.S. haven&apos;t spared New York City. The waterways around the island of Manhattan are filled with ice. (Feb. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Widespread Flooding in Northern Bolivia

Raw: Widespread Flooding in Northern Bolivia

AP (Feb. 25, 2015) Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia surveyed severe flood damage in the northern province of Pando, as people were evacuated from partially submerged houses by boat. (Feb. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Satellite data shows the Amazon rainforest supports its lush flora with a little help from Sahara Desert dust. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins