Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Flooding and Birds Point Levee

Friday Evening Update:
Forecast River levels along the Ohio River at Paducah and Cairo have been lowered by around two feet. According to the City of Paducah, these lower levels will allow the city to keep from putting in additional flood gates. The Army Corps of Engineers is also more optimistic about not having to operate the Birds Point Floodway. Here is a look at the Ohio River with an aerial view this afternoon.

Video courtesy of UAVRG

Friday Morning Update:
From the Birds Point New Madrid Floodway Information Center:
"Info from Thursday evening's Public Meeting with Congressman Jason Smith, Corps of Engineers leaders and local residents at Charleston, Mo. The National Weather Service has revised the forecasted river crest at Cairo, Ill., downward to 57.5 feet on Jan. 4 - good news for everyone."
The Red Cross shelter in Cape Girardeau continues to accept evacuees. With lower water levels projected for Cairo, IL, the likelihood of activating the Birds Point Floodway is becoming less likely. The Army Corps continues to monitor and remains in Phase II.

Video courtesy of UAVRG

Thursday Afternoon Update:

Reminder: Town hall meeting tonight at 4 p.m. in Charleston. More information:
MEDIA ADVISORY: December 30, 2015
Congressman Jason Smith organizes open Town Hall Meeting at Clara Drinkwater Library to discuss Mississippi River Levels and surrounding Levees. On Thursday, December 31, 2015 at 4 pm, Congressman Jason Smith invites residents and media to speak directly with the Army Corps on the recent record rainfall and current levels on the Mississippi River. The meeting will provide an opportunity for the Army Corps and others to give a status update on current river levels, projected levels, and what the plan is for each levee. After the update, residents and the media will have a chance to ask questions.

WHAT: Status update and discussion on recent record rainfall and Levee integrity
WHERE: Clara Drinkwater Library, 105 E Marshall St, Charleston, Mo.
WHEN: Thursday, December 31, 2015, 4 pm

Wednesday 4:30PM from the Army Corps concerning Birds Point: 
"Memphis District Commander Col. Jeff Anderson spoke with Missouri Rep. Jason Smith.  Rep. Smith has scheduled a status update and discussion on recent record rainfall and levee integrity for the public at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31 at the Clara Drinkwater Library, 105 E Marshall St, Charleston, MO."

As water levels continue to rise along the Mississippi, all eyes and ears are on Birds Point Levee again less than 5 years after the historic event that occurred there in 2011. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers that operate the Birds Point / New Madrid Floodway is still in Phase II of operations meaning they are in observation and prepare mode in the event they need to take further steps to relieve flooding from the MS River. Phase III is when they will move to make the floodway operational. The Army Corps takes every means possible to NOT activate this option but will in extreme cases. For now, we wait and cross our fingers for a better scenario.
National Weather Service forecasts for the MS River continue to point toward record setting levels near Cape Girardeau and Thebes. Due to this flooding, there are some major roadway closures:

"US 51 in Ballard County will be closed in two places at midnight because of flooding.The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says the US 51 Ohio River "Cairo" Bridge and US 51 south of Wickliffe near the Ballard-Carlisle County line will be closed.Keith Todd with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says they expect these two sites to be closed for at least a week.Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead and consider alternative routes.Along with the road closures, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is urging everyone to not move and drive through traffic barricades into floodwaters.Law enforcement is working with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and will write citations to those who move traffic barricades."
Latest  River/Lakes Stages and Forecast Heights as of Wednesday afternoon: Click Here

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