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Louisiana. Spillway Opened to Ward Off Flooding

Louisiana, USA
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opens the Bonnet Carre Spillway north of New Orleans to relieve the high water in the Mississippi River, send the diversion into Lake Pontchartrain Friday, April 11, 2008. Heavy rains farther north, in the Mississippi Valley, prompted the decision to open the spillway for only the ninth time since 1937. The corps says the spillway could be open for up to a month. (AP Photo/Times-Picayune Photo, Ted Jackson)

Story: The Army Corps of Engineers opened a spillway near New Orleans for the FIRST TIME IN 11 YEARS on Friday in an effort to spare the city any flooding from the swollen Mississippi River. Heavy rain in the Mississippi Valley prompted the decision to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway, about 30 miles north of New Orleans. The corps said the spillway could be open for a month. In addition to helping guard against flooding, opening the spillway is meant to ease pressure on levees and make it safer for ships and barges to navigate the river. The Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is one of the world's busiest commercial waterways. Despite the annual rising of the river, the corps seldom employs the spillway. Friday's opening was only the ninth since the spillway's construction in 1931. The spillway diverts river water to Lake Pontchartrain, and from there into the Gulf of Mexico. The runoff from the river is not expected to significantly raise the level of the lake, but it is expected to affect plant and marine life as fresh river water pours into the brackish lake.

ARKANSAS, MISSOURI - The rain has ended, but rivers are continuing to flood parts of Missouri and Arkansas and as still more evacuations take place, the latest round of flooding has claimed at least two lives. Homes were evacuated again along the White and Black Rivers, as flooding hit the 50-year mark in Arkansas for the second time in two months. "To have that happen two times in three weeks is not statistically impossible, but you probably have a better chance of winning the lottery.” Rain has been falling on and off since last week. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is continuing to release water from six dams, all of which drain into the White River. In Arkansas counties in the southeastern part of the state, the water levels continue to rise and many roads are not passable. Observers report that damage to crops is extensive and that entire neighborhoods in some regions are underwater. Homemade videos have appeared on the internet on sites like YouTube that show the swollen rivers with houses floating downstream and fields where only the tops of the spring crops are visible at the surface of the water. Image: Flood Waters Surround Homes In This Arkansas Community: Credit, Augustino/FEMA

OHIO - No one is sure why floodwaters won't go down in the northern Ohio town of Bellevue. Residents are frustrated and city leaders are too, saying they aren't getting much help from the state or federal government. The water has damaged the foundations of homes, closed roads and swamped farm fields that are just outside the town, which is about 45 miles southeast of Toledo. Most think that the problems have been created by melting snow in March that had nowhere drain because the ground was already too saturated. And strong winds have been pushing water from draining north to Lake Erie.

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