NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Mississippi River at the Carrollton gauge in New Orleans has risen above 11 feet, prompting the Corps of Engineers to activate Phase I flood fight procedures, according to a Corps news release.
Coordinating efforts with local levee authorities, the Corps' New Orleans District will begin patrolling the levees along the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge twice weekly until the water level drops below 11 feet at the Carrollton gauge.
Phase I is a proactive measure that's triggered when the Mississippi River reaches 11 feet and is forecast to continue to rise. The increased patrols help ensure the Corps' ability to respond quickly to any problem areas that may develop along the levee system because of the elevated water levels.
The current water level at the Carrollton gauge is 11.23 feet. The National Weather Service's latest forecast shows the river cresting April 19 at 11.5 feet. The crest at Carrollton will last two days and the stages will start to recede April 21.
The Corps released the following statement regarding work on or near federal levees:
"The Corps and State of Louisiana have established distances for certain types of work that can adversely affect the integrity of the federal levees and structures. All work that may impact Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) levees, which includes transport of heavy loads over the levee, disturbance of grass cover, or subsurface work within 1,500 feet of the levee, is prohibited when the Mississippi River elevation reaches 11 feet and rising at the Carrollton Gage in New Orleans. Waivers are considered on a case-by-case basis and are dependent on many circumstances, including surrounding subsurface ground conditions.
"Permit holders are advised to contact their local levee districts for detailed information and to monitor river stages and forecasts by calling 504-862-2461 or checking www.rivergages.com."