October 22, 2017

Evacuations ordered as Louisiana spillway opens

Many parts of the world are crying out for this kind of water. It is a shame things can't be a bit more balanced, but I suppose that is nature.

Evacuations have been ordered following the opening of floodgates to release pressure on the swollen Mississippi River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened two floodgates on the Morganza spillway Saturday, for the first time in nearly 40 years, followed by two additional gates on Sunday morning.

Residents of towns along the Mississippi River were frantically trying to build levees and place sandbags to protect their homes.

This is a tragic situation where homes and towns in more sparsely populated areas are being sacrificed to protect the larger cities further downstream.

At present around 4,000 people living along the Mississippi are affected by the spillway openings which is sending water in the direction of the Atchafalaya Basin.

Authorities in St. Landry Parish ordered a mandatory evacuation Sunday for about 2,000 people in areas of Krotz Springs and Melville. “By 5 p.m., everyone in the affected areas must be out,” the parish said in a statement. Residents in some other areas were under a voluntary evacuation, with officials saying evacuation was encouraged.

Authorities plan to open as many as one-fourth of the spillway’s 125 floodgates in the coming days in an effort to spare the Louisiana cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans from severe flooding.

“Really, we’re just waiting,” said Evie Bertaut of Morgan City, Louisiana, which sits on the banks of the Atchafalaya River. “Most people are getting their photographs together, things that you can’t replace in case you have to go.”

Across the South and lower Midwest, floodwaters have covered about 3 million acres of farmland, eroding for many farmers what could have been a profitable year for corn, wheat, rice and cotton, officials said.

It just seems to be one kick after the other for the South at the moment. Hopefully this is the last natural disaster for now and the South can enjoy a long hot summer.