MS River Is Backing Up

The Mississippi River Is Backing Up

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Much, perhaps most, of the 2019 Mississippi River flood waters are from precipitation far upstream in the basins of the Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas and Upper Mississippi Rivers. You might guess flood stages would move from north to south in the Mid-to-Lower Mississippi River as the waters travel north to south to reach the Gulf of Mexico. You’d be wrong.

Table I shows 2019 flood stages moving south to north from the Baton Rouge – Knox Landing – Natchez portion of the river. The Knox Landing gauge is ¾ of a mile south of the inlet to the Low Sill Structure of the Old River Control Structure (ORCS), south of Natchez just above the Mississippi-Louisiana border. The Low Sill Structure spans the inlet which lies on the west side of the main channel.


                         2019 MISSISSIPPI RIVER FLOOD

MSR Gauge                             Date First Flood Stage                        Days above Flood Stage

Knox Landing                          December 16, 2018                                             164

Natchez                                    January 4, 2019                                                   145

Baton Rouge                           January 7, 2019                                                    142

Vicksburg                                January 11, 2019                                                  133

Greenville                                February 16, 2019                                                102

Memphis                                 February, 19, 2019                                                 47


The Mississippi has a plug just below The Old River Control Structure resulting from soil settling out in a roughly 20 mile stretch of the river. The flood waters coming down the Mississippi can’t get past those obstacles and backup — increasing river heights to Greenville.

For more details see Dr. Xu’s video  (Also located in BPF article MS River in Danger of Being Captured by the Atchafalaya River)

(Video credit to Swamp Gear and Inclusive Productions.)


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