MC opens floodgates, Berwick to follow
By: Staff and Wire Reports
The City of Morgan City has reopened one floodgate while Berwick is expected to begin opening its gates on Wednesday.
Morgan City Mayor Tim Matte said the city reopened the Levee Road floodgate this past weekend.
“We are evaluating the floodgates in the remainder of that stretch. We opened Onstead for Conrad’s access, too,” Matte said.
The city will restrict traffic only for businesses that are on the unprotected side of the floodwall, he said.
“The first order of business is to restore utility services,” Matte said.
In Berwick, Town Superintendent Allen Benoit said two swing gates at SMI and Francis Drilling Fluid will be opened on Wednesday.
According to Benoit, if river levels allow, a day or two later crews would be sent through the unprotected side to Texas Street to inspect the roadway system, clear debris and examine town-owned equipment and businesses.
If river levels continue dropping, then gates will be opened at Oregon Street, Gus, Texas, Utah and Mound streets, California, Canton and Lima streets and then Pacific and First streets.
Depending on river stages, the riverfront may be reopened June 20.
The Atchafalaya River’s stage this morning was 7.96 feet and it was projected to continue dropping to 7.5 feet by Saturday, the National Weather Service reported.
Elsewhere, the Mississippi River has fallen enough for the Army Corps of Engineers to begin closing the Bonnet Carre Spillway north of New Orleans.
Spokesman Ricky Boyett says crews began closing 30 bays on Saturday. That will leave 300 still open.
The river has dropped below the maximum at Red River Landing, so the Corps no longer needs to send as much water into Lake Pontchartrain to pass it safely through the New Orleans area.
There’s no decision yet on when to close the entire spillway.
The Corps opened 17 bays at the Morganza Spillway. It began closing them on May 25, and one remains open. Boyett says it will be closed when the river no longer flows over a low levee behind the spillway.
On a similar note, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Friday that the latest NWS forecast indicates that Missouri River flooding will not result in flooding on the lower Mississippi River.
The statement from the Corps’ office in Vicksburg, Miss., was based on the weather service’s latest 28-day forecast. The statement says the Mississippi at Cairo, Ill, is expected to continue to fall. To put it back above flood stage would require a rain of more than five inches over a wide area affecting the lower Missouri, middle Mississippi or the Ohio rivers.