Corps Reacting To Swiftly Moving, Rising Mississippi By Opening Spillway

Bonnet Carre' Spillway Getty Images

People look on as water from the rising Mississippi River is released through the Bonnet Carre Spillway May 9, 2011 in Norco, Louisiana. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

At least 30 bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish will be opened today by the Army Corps of Engineers to alleviate the flooding threat posed by the Mississippi River.

This is only the 13th time in the structure's history that such an opening of the bays was deemed necessary and it marks the first time that the bays have been opened in consecutive years.

The step diverts some of the river's water into Lake Pontchartrain and lessens the threat to land and levees downstream towards New Orleans.

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