Governor Bobby Jindal held a UCG meeting today with state leaders, the National Weather Service and the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss preparations for rising Mississippi River levels. The Governor said he asked the Army Corps to publicly release a map outlining the areas and residents that would be impacted by the possible opening of the Morganza Spillway, which the Corps said could be opened as soon as next Thursday.
Governor Jindal said, "The Corps showed us today a map of the area that would be impacted by the opening of the Morganza Spillway and we encouraged them to release this to the public to give people time to leave that area and make plans to stay somewhere else. They told us the decision to open the spillway could be made by next Thursday, which would give us the early part of next week to make sure and get the word out to residents that they need to leave the area impacted by the possible opening of the spillway.
"To give you an order of magnitude for the rising river levels, a Corps official with us yesterday in North Louisiana said that it could be as late as July before the water returns to normal levels following the crest point. We also asked for a model of backwater flooding as well, in addition to the flooding they project from the opening of the Morganza Spillway.
"As we said yesterday, if the spillway is opened, DOTD will close the portion of La. 1 that crosses the Morganza Spillway and perform an inspection of the structure prior to allowing traffic to flow again. Additionally, based on the potential opening of the spillway, the U.S. 190 Morganza Spillway Bridge repair project is on hold and the mats placed for equipment to access the work site are being removed from the floodway."