Corps prepping for second Mississippi River crest due to more rain

Corps prepping for second Mississippi River crest due to more rain
Storms are causing the rivers to rise (Source: KFVS)

MEMPHIS, TN (KFVS) - The Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) expect the lower Mississippi River to again rise above Phase I activation levels in the northern portion of the District by the end of March.

This could cause flooding in some areas.

According to the Memphis District:

Significant rainfall is forecasted for the Mississippi watershed during the next week." Bill Frederick, National Weather Service meteorologist assigned to the Corps' Mississippi Valley Division in Vicksburg, Mississippi, said. "A high-pressure area will camp off the U.S. east coast next week blocking a strong cold front from progressing eastward. The front is forecasted to remain over the Red, Arkansas, and Ohio River valleys for several days as the high-pressure area pumps an abundance of tropical moisture into the Valley. This weather pattern is similar to the one that produced heavy rains in February."

Corps officials anticipate the need to resume flood fighting in those areas due to the weather pattern.

"Based on this forecast, we can expect to go to a Phase I activation level around March 30, and Phase II around April 5 in the Cairo (Illinois) Area," Dave Berretta, the Corps' Chief of Hydraulics and Hydrology in Memphis said.

Phase I activation in that area occurs when the Cairo river gage reaches 49 feet, and Phase II takes place when the gage reaches 52 feet. During a Phase I activation, USACE personnel deploy to the field and monitor all federal flood control works including levees, flood walls and pumping stations.

Other areas in southern Missouri, northeastern Arkansas, and western Kentucky and Tennessee may also reach flood fight activation levels caused by this second round of high water.

Meteorologist Bill Frederick said, "As we move into spring, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center predicts a wetter than normal April over the Ohio Valley and a wetter than normal April through June over the entire watershed north of Memphis.

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