92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 1:30 PM
2011 Mississippi River High-Water Event
La Nouvelle C (New Orleans Convention Center )
Ed Fleming, USACE, New Orleans, LA

During the early morning hours of May 1st, with concerns of the rapidly increasing flood waters on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, Major General Michael J. Walsh, Commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, established Operation Watershed. During the flood event, Operation Watershed concentrated efforts on current, future and recovery operations. Current and future operations focused on planning, preparing and executing safety plans that protected the lives and livelihoods of nearly 4.5 million citizens and infrastructure. Recovery operations were tracking the damages, documenting the event and projecting the recovery needs.

During the 2011 event, flood flows were roughly equal or greater than those experienced during the 1927 flood, but because of the Mississippi River &Tributaries System only 38% of the area that flooded in 1927 flooded during the 2011 event. In other words, only 6.35 million acres flooded, with most of that being the land between the levees. The MR&T, while only 89% complete had room to handle more floodwaters. There were an additional 1.8 million acres designed to "make room for the river" between the unused floodway and the backwater areas that were not used as flood storage during the 2011 event.

New Orleans District Commander Colonel Ed Fleming will discuss the operation and performance of the Mississippi River and Tributaries system in South Louisiana during the historic high-water event, including the use of the Bonnet Carre' Spillway and Morganza Floodway; the decision-making process during the Corps emergency response efforts; and current efforts to restore the system in preparation for the next high-water event.

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