(WVUE) - The Mississippi River in New Orleans should remain high for the next several days before it begins a steep drop, forecasters say.
The Carrollton gauge read 16.95 feet at 8 a.m. on Monday, according to the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.
The river is forecast to remain high through Thursday and then begin a steady drop.
Although flood stage in New Orleans is technically 17 feet at the Carrollton gauge, levees protect the city to 20 feet.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been operating the Bonnet Carre Spillway 32 miles upriver to prevent the Mississippi from rising above 17 feet in New Orleans.
Forecasters attribute the river's rapid rise weeks ago to snow melt and rain in the Ohio River Valley and heavy rain the Arkansas and Mississippi.
The forecast calls for the river to drop to 16.1 feet by Tuesday, March 27 and and 14 feet by Monday, April 2.