Corps will not open Morganza Spillway on Sunday

No new date announced for opening floodgates; would release 25 percent of original intent

It’s anybody’s guess as to when -- or if -- the Morganza Spillway will be opened during the current high water event.

The Corps of Engineers announced today that “based on the current forecast, the Corps will not operate the Morganza Floodway on June 9th and does not have an expected operating date.”

The announcement noted the Corps will monitor daily weather forecasts and conditions that might affect the Mississippi River levels.

“Operation of the structure will be a consideration until the Mississippi River crests and begins to fall,” the Corps said. “The expected crest at Morganza is on about June 15, but it will then remain high for two weeks or more.”

The Corps said the structure will only be used “when needed, as to not put additional water into the Atchafalaya Basin.”

Officials announced Wednesday that plans now call for releasing only 20 percent of the water originally planned to be diverted into the Atchafalaya Basin.

The Corps had initially said it would open the control structure this past Sunday (June 2). That was postponed to Thursday (June 6) and then pushed back to this Sunday (June 9).

At this time, no new date has been set.

The spillway was built in 1954 and has been opened only twice -- in 1973 and 2011.

The Corps had raised the possibility of opening the Morganza Spillway in January 2016, but eventually deemed it unnecessary to do so.

The spillway is located in Point Coupee Parish and is intended to divert water from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya Basin during periods of major flooding. The water eventually enters the Atchafalaya River.

It is also part of a system of structures and levees designed to prevent the Mississippi River from changing course and following the Atchafalaya’s to the Gulf of Mexico, which would adversely impact the port cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

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