Corps of Engineers begins 'flood fight' near Cape Girardeau

Published: Jun. 3, 2013 at 7:30 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, initiated Phase I flood fighting activities at 7 a.m. on Monday, June 3 due to high Upper Mississippi River stages.

The area of flooding is located in the northern portion of the Memphis District near Cape Girardeau and Dutchtown, Mo.

The Corps said significant rainfall over the last week across portions of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois have caused the river to rise again after a period of falling levels.

Based on current National Weather Service forecasts, the Corps of Engineers expects to move to a Phase II flood fight on June 4.

"Although we expect this rise in the river to be of short duration - maybe a week or so - we are taking these steps ensure our flood works are performing as designed," said Corps Emergency Management Chief Steve Barry in Memphis. "Because this flooding is located only on the Upper Mississippi River we do not believe it will have any impact on the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway area."

As part of their Phase II response efforts, the Memphis District is establishing a field office in Cape Girardeau, Mo., with seven field personnel assigned there.

At Corps District Headquarters in Memphis, the Corps' Emergency Operations Center has gone to Activation Level III with elevated staffing to provide Command and Control support for the response effort. The EOC is staffed 12 hours per day, with personnel on call 24 hours per day.

Through the State of Missouri, local officials in Dutchtown, Mo., have requested assistance from the Corps of Engineers to provide flood protection to their community. Corps leaders are currently assessing these needs and are working with community leaders there to provide them with this help.

Phase I flood fight activities begin when the river gage at Cape Girardeau reaches 38 feet with a sustained rise forecasted. As of 9 a.m. on June 3, the river stage at Cape Girardeau is 39.78 feet with a forecasted crest of 45.5 feet expected.

Phase II flood fighting begins when the river gage at Cape Girardeau reaches 43 feet.

Phase I is an initial monitoring phase when personnel from the Corps' Caruthersville, Mo. Area Office begin monitoring the levees and other flood control structures for any problem areas and coordinate with local officials including levee associations.

During Phase II larger teams including geotechnical engineers deploy from District Headquarters in Memphis to provide technical support and monitor flood control structures for problems such as sand boils and levee wave wash.

The Corps' Division Headquarters in Vicksburg, Miss., coordinates all flood fight activities in the Mississippi Valley. The Corps' Emergency Operations Center in Memphis is directing these flood fight activities in conjunction with the affected states, levee districts and other local interest groups.

The Federal flood protection works in the Mississippi Valley protect many thousands of homes, millions of lives and vast tracts of fertile cropland. The Memphis District's flood control system has prevented more than $4.3 billion in flood damages and protected more than five million acres of cropland in the last decade alone.

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