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.

"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 July 25, 2014 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 July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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