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Flooding worsens as levee questions increase

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

(Photo)
Vehicles splash through the water on a covered area of Highway Z in Vanduser on Tuesday morning. Roads are closed across the region due to high water. Michelle Felter, Staff
NEW MADRID - Eyes remain on the sky to determine whether or not the Corps of Engineers will have to breach a Southeast Missouri levee to ease flooding.

The Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, began moving barges loaded with equipment and materials used to operate the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway from Memphis to Missouri Tuesday afternoon. The decision by Mississippi River Commission President, Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, to move the barges will allow the Memphis District to continue with the next phase of the Floodway operation plan.

The Corps explained the Floodway is part of a flood risk management plan for the lower Mississippi River. Its purpose is to lower flood stages and pressure on the entire system during major flood events.

"I strongly suggest people in the Floodway closely monitor information that might be coming from their local or state emergency management officials on things they need to do to reduce risk," Col. Vernie Reichling, Commander of the Corps' Memphis District said.

Lynn Bock, legal counsel with the Little River Drainage District, emphasized the final decision has yet to be made by the Memphis District of the Corps about whether the levee at Bird's Point will be breached.

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