Monday, May 2, 2011

People in three states hear levee detonation

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, MO (KRCU) - Three states shook as the Army Corps of Engineers blew up a two-mile section of levee on the Mississippi River. The Army Corps of Engineers blew up the levee to lower river levels in the heavily flooded region.

The levee was packed with liquid explosives and set off by C-4. Water cascaded into the floodway, inundating 130,000 acres of farmland and as many as 100 homes.

All residents of the spillway were safely evacuated in the days preceding the breach.

The Army Corps of Engineers chose to blow up this Mississippi River levee in rural Missouri to ease stress on a river system that has produced some of the worst flooding ever seen in southern Illinois, southeast Missouri, and western Kentucky.

The explosion was an attempt to save numerous small river communities, including the evacuated town of Cairo, Illinois which sits at the point where the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers meet.

The breach will drop water levels, but Major General Michael Walsh cautions that the relief may only be temporary.

"As we bring the crest down it will be brought down for a few days. Then the crest will come back and we’ll see where we go from there," Walsh said.

General Walsh indicated that he is in discussions to open similar floodways in Louisiana.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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