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 August 22, 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 August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers

California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — California's record drought is hurting honey supplies and raising prices for consumers. The lack of rainfall means fewer crops and wildflowers that provide the nectar bees need to make honey. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Species Found In Lake Under Antarctic Ice

Thousands Of Species Found In Lake Under Antarctic Ice

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A U.S. team found nearly 4,000 species in a subglacial lake that hasn't seen sunlight in millennia, showing life can thrive even under the ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
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