New Orleans officials watching high water in Midwest

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 23 at 7:01 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- The view of the Mississippi from the Port of New Orleans was pretty normal Tuesday afternoon.

Contrast that with threatening conditions in the Midwest as river towns scramble to fend off potential flooding.

Port officials don't expect any interruption in shipping, but are preparing for the high water now slowing moving down river.

"Right now, we think that looks like nothing terribly unusual," said Pat Gallway, assistant port director. "We can handle that. Our vessels and our operations will be just fine."

Just two years ago, it took the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish and the Morganza Flood Control Structure northwest of Baton Rouge to keep the river from overflowing along the lower Mississippi.

The river is now expected to crest at 14 feet in New Orleans on May 11. That's 3 feet below flood stage.

"It's nowhere near the stages that we had in 2011 at this point," said Mike Stack from the Army Corps of Engineers.

The official Carrollton Gauge on the Mississippi now reads just over 9 feet. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the river is expected to rise to around 11 feet sometime next week, triggering the first phase of the annual flood fight.

"Basically, what it's about is the Corps of Engineers with its engineers going out with the levee districts and inspecting the levee systems to make there's no problems, seepage, those kinds of things developing," said Stack.

Back at the Port of New Orleans, people who make their living on the water know what to expect.

"I can assure you that all mariners on this river are aware of the river conditions at all times," said Gallway. "They know when the river gets up high and how swift this current can get."

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