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High Rivers - Past , Present and Future

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Old 04-08-2008, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: I presenbtly live in Covington , LA.
Posts: 673
Default High Rivers - Past , Present and Future

Greetings From New Orleans ,
As I sit here at the Coast Guard , V T S station over looking the Mississippi River , and as I watch all manor of river traffic sliding , flanking or stalling out altogether around Algiers Point , I can't help but wonder what the High Rivers of the past and future must have and will be like . I remember back in the mid 70's that the river was so high in St. Louis that we very well could have tied the Str. Delta Queen off to the legs of the Arch . I remember the High Water marks on the Vicksburg flood wall and wondering how the river could have ever gotton that high and now I hear that those same flood gates are now closed and secured for this years record high water . I am also hearing that this last week the Vicksburg Bridge has been hit no less than four times and the river has been closed to navigation until all the barges that were broken loose , scattered and sank have been acounted for . I remember the stories that Capt. Howard Tate use to tell me of when he navigated his steam towboat through a breech in the levee and went out into the flooded fields to rescue farmers off their farmhouse roofs during the great flood of 27' . I also remember other stories of how the river would break through the low lying levees of the time and create crevases and fortunately for some relieve some of the pressure it would ulitimately bore down on other river communities . Therefore , because the river no longer or seldom breakes through the higher and better maintained levees of the past , I believe that the High Rivers of the future will be higher and swifter from the standpoint that first of all the Corps of Engineers are reluctant to open the man made spillways that were built for the very reason to reducce the river water level and safe guard the cities they were made to protect . Just yesterday , I was listening to a local New Orleans , talk radio program and the majority of the local listeners that called in to voice their opinions on opening the Bonne Carre Spillway were more concerned about the short term and temporary effects that the river would have on Lake Ponchetrain than on the potential threats and dangers to the local maritime industry and the city of New Orleans . To put it simply , I was just amazed that the locals would literally put the health and well being of a lake over the overall safety a city . Today the local New Orleans , Carrollton River gage is 16.1 and rising with a prediction of 17 on the 12th. of this month . Also , yeaterday I had a conversation with Capt. Doc Hawley and he reminded me of an old way to make river predictions for New Orleans . To make this prediction , you simply divide the current river stage for Cario (54') by 3 , which equals 18 feet and then add 10 days for this river level of 18' to arrive in New Orleans . Time will bear me out but personally I for one feel that this time proven method will come to pass .
Smoothe Sailing !
Ted Davisson
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