As floodwaters continue flowing south, the Mississippi River Commission is considering opening the rarely used Morganza Floodway.
With 125 separate gates, this would be only the second time the Floodway has been used in its 57 year history. The last time waters breached the levees was in 1973.
According to Bloomberg, the result will be 600,000 cubic feet of water per second pouring from the river into the Atchafalaya River and central Louisiana countryside — three times the amount of water flowing through Niagara Falls in its most swollen months.
While this is bad news for residents, who will receive no compensation for their flooded property, it could also hamper Louisiana’s on-shore oil and gas production. 150 companies, with 2,264 oil wells producing 19,000 barrels of crude a day are preparing for the flood.
A spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Anna Dearmon, said as much as 252.6 million cubic feet a day of gas may be threatened, along with operations at 10 refineries, accounting for about 14 per cent of U.S. operating capacity.
The final decision on whether to open the Floodway will be made today if the Mississippi River flow at Red River Landing reaches 1.5 million cubic feet per second.
The flow was clocked yesterday at 1.46 million cubic feet per second.
Governor Bobby Jindal said yesterday. “We’re telling our people to prepare for the worst.”