FAST FIVE: Mississippi Floodway May Be Opened, Unleashing 17 Million Liters Of Water Per Second

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The opening would be the result of rising river levels and could also flood parts of Louisiana, which would affect businesses in the region, according to Bloomberg.

The river has been at high levels since last October as a result of massive rainfalls that have also had a negative effect on crops in the region.  The floodway is about 45 miles northwest of Baton Rouge and, when opened, sends water into the “rural area between the Atchafalaya and Mississippi Rivers in central Louisiana.” The area along the river between New Orleans and Baton Rogue is littered with refineries, chemical plants and grain elevators.

A large amount of this water will flow into the Mississippi, coupled with water from the Arkansas river.  Jeff Graschel, service coordination hydrologist with the Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center said: “We are really close to the trigger levels.” Speaking to Bloomberg, he added that while the Mississippi could dip lower in the next few days, forecasters are expecting a new deluge caused by a week's worth of thunderstorms across the Great Plains and Midwest to send the river rising again by the end of next week.

River levels are about 2 feet lower than they were during 2011.

The Bonnet Carre Spillway, about 28 miles downstream, was opened in February to help prevent flood risk in New Orleans. .

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