With Lower Mississippi River Above 11 Feet, New Orleans District Enacts Flood Fight

The Mississippi River at the Carrollton Gage in New Orleans has risen to a stage not seen since the end of May 2022: 11 feet. And while that’s well below flood stage (17 feet) and a full 10 feet below the record height set almost 101 years ago (21.27 feet), 11 feet is nonetheless the trigger point for the New Orleans Engineer District to activate its Phase 1 flood fight. The New Orleans District announced the enhanced flood fight measures March 9.

The Phase I flood fight means the district will patrol Mississippi River levees twice weekly until the Carrollton Gage drops below 11 feet. More frequent patrols allow the Corps and levee authorities to more quickly identify and respond to any issues caused by high water.

When the river exceeds 11 feet at Carrollton, the Corps and the state of Louisiana also prohibit subsurface work within 1,500 feet of the levee, any disturbance of grass along the levee and the transport of heavy loads over the levee. Waivers may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

According to the National Weather Service, the Mississippi River at Carrollton is expected to crest at 12 feet on or about March 20 and hold steady for a few days before falling.

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Jeff Graschel with the National Weather Service’s Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center said March 8 that forecast crests are trending down for both the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

“The lower Ohio River should crest tomorrow, and crests should continue on the Lower Mississippi River over the next couple of weeks,” Graschel said. “The 16-day future rainfall model is not showing additional rises to flood for the remainder of March.”

Lower Mississippi River crests are forecast as follows: Memphis, Tenn., forecast to crest at 28.5 feet on March 12; Arkansas City, Ark., forecast to crest at 33 feet on March 15; Greenville, Miss., forecast to crest at 43 feet on March 16; Vicksburg, Miss., forecast to crest at 39.5 feet on March 17; Natchez, Miss., forecast to crest at 47 feet on March 19; Baton Rouge, La., forecast to crest at 33 feet on March 20.