Rising Mississippi River levels spark concern

Published: May. 11, 2013 at 9:34 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2013 at 2:25 AM CDT
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News Orleans, LA -- Springtime marks the high level water season.

Water levels are on the rise for the Mississippi River.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are closely monitoring the river and when it will crest.

Heavy rain this week flooded streets and reminded thousands across the region this spring has been especially soggy.

All that water has Maritime Attorney, Thomas Forbes keeping a close watch on the river levels as ships travel up and down the mighty Mississippi.

He recalls the river back in 2011.

"Two years ago I think it was sort of biblical the river went up to seventeen and half almost 18 feet and that's almost enough to shut down shipping, but it didn't," says Forbes.

Fox 8 Chief Meteorologist, Bob Breck is keeping an eye on the rainfall up north.

"It's been colder and much wetter across the northern states, the areas that have been in drought, the Central Plains they've received significant rainfall there's been a change in the upper level atmosphere jets stream," says Breck.

"When the river rises to say 12 or 13 or 14 feet above sea level, there's a strong current," says Forbes.

As all the snow melts in places like Montana, Chicago to Memphis that water is headed down river.

"Approximately 41 percent of the continuous United States flows through our region. Right now we're looking at an average high water season. Something that we go through almost every year and within about 10 days we should see a crest about three and half feet at that point the water will start subsiding," says Ricky Boyett of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Division.

Structural engineers and civil engineers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are inspecting river levels from North of Baton Rouge all the way down to Venice.

"We're looking for anything; you'll have cracks in slope pavement we want to catch those before, any type of slides, any type of seepage. We want to find those areas now. Right now we're in good shape we haven't identified anything that would be considered a major issue," says Boyett.