Government blows up levee in downstate Illinois
May 3, 2011

The US Army Corps of Engineers has blown up part of a levee near Cairo, Illinois (the southernmost point in the state), in an effort to protect the town itself. The Mississippi and Ohio Rivers come together at Cairo, and the hole in the levee that was blown up flooded a huge area of cropland -- about 130,000 acres, or about 200 square miles -- in an effort to ease pressure on the levees protecting the city. Areas downstream along the Mississippi River are likely to suffer massive flooding for some time to come, especially because the difficult calculus involved in predicting river behavior remains as challenging as any weather forecast. The dynamics of a river's flow change with its depth, and the huge number of rivers feeding into the Mississippi make any long-range predictions extremely difficult.

We help communities upstream in the Mississippi and Missouri river basins with flood protections, including the water-control gates that make levees possible, and the reinforcement geotextiles that help earthen levees keep their shape.

May 2011
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last revised May 2011