Despite heavy snowfall, experts doubt spillway will open - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Despite heavy snowfall, experts doubt Bonnet Carre Spillway will open this year

Source: NOAA Source: NOAA

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Despite near-record snowfall in much of the northern United States, government scientists issued a mostly low-key prediction for spring flooding.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its outlook for flooding, warning that rivers in half the continental U.S. could experience some flooding.

Drought lingers in much of the western U.S., including areas that drain to the Pacific Ocean.

NOAA said those areas that funnel down the Missouri and Ohio Rivers, and eventually the Mississippi, have only "equal chances" of more or less rainfall than average.

Meteorologists often point out that spring rains play a more important role in flooding than snow.

NOAA said indicators for spring precipitation remain very weak in much of the country.

In 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deployed every weapon in its arsenal to fight flooding on the lower Mississippi, including opening both the Bonnet Carre Spillway near Norco and the rarely used Morganza Spillway near Vidalia.

Thursday afternoon, the Carrollton gage read 7.47 feet, almost 10 feet below the flood stage.

Although the Corps does not anticipate opening the spillways this year, spokesman Rene Poche warned, "the important thing to remember is Mother Nature being Mother Nature, things can change at any given time."

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