In NASA Earth Observatory’s latest image of the Mississippi River Valley, floodwaters from this spring’s historic flooding — “the floodwaters have been the highest on record at more than half of the gauges along the [levees] between Missouri and Louisiana” — are receding, and the river crested back on the 31st of May at Morgan City, the Atchafalaya’s outlet point to the Gulf and the southernmost point to experience flood stage. Yet gauges up and down the river remain at flood stage. In Louisiana, flooding is concentrated along the Mississippi upstream from the open Bonnet Carre Spillway: Baton Rouge records major flooding (here, “major flooding” refers to the height above flood stage on the gauge, not the horizontal spread of water), while both Red River Landing and Morgan City remain at moderate. Though flooding through the Atchafalaya basin and at Morgan City has not been as bad as initially feared, it could be a month before floodwaters are no longer a concern in Morgan City. And, of course, Morgan City also lies in the path of flooding from the opposite direction: the hurricane season, which began June 1st, “is expected to be busier than normal, with government forecasters predicting there could be as many as 18 named tropical storms”. Further up river, waters remain at minor or moderate flood stage in both Mississippi and Arkansas.
[I’ve found far more that I want to talk about than I originally anticipated when I started posting about floods a couple weeks ago, so it turns out that this week or two is probably going to stretch towards a month or two. I’ve just gotten, as the title of this post indicates, to the point where I’m ready to start talking about this year’s Mississippi floods, and there is a great deal to discuss: specific sites of fascination like the concrete revetment construction yards of St. Francisville, the racial politics of media coverage of flood control, a number of design proposals for flooded landscapes, sand boils, how to think about flood control, and so on. While there is probably going to be a slowdown in posting over the next week or two, (I am, as previously mentioned, off to Visualizar next week) don’t worry (I know! You were really, really worried that a blog might post less frequently!) — the flooding will resume shortly.]