Corps says river won’t flood here

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 20, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – A swollen Mississippi River was still flooding parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa Thursday, but those waters won’t flood Concordia Parish, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

That is because the flooding is happening above Cairo, Ill., where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi – and the Mississippi River at Vidalia gets most of its water from the Ohio.

&uot;The Ohio is really the most critical river that affects us because the Ohio carries three times as much water as the upper Mississippi,&uot; said Jerry McDonald, Vidalia-based area engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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&uot;I’ve been getting calls about this, because people see all the flooding on the news, but we won’t see any appreciable rise from it down here,&uot;&160;McDonald said.

In fact, the Mississippi River at Vidalia is expected to crest at just 36 feet late next week – six feet below flood stage.

The river stood at 32.9 feet Thursday and forecast to rise to 33.7 feet today, 34.3 feet Saturday and 35.2 feet Sunday.

The calls McDonald has gotten are perhaps understandable, considering that the Mississippi River at Vidalia rose to very high levels just last month.

In early March, the river crested at 47.9 feet, causing waters to rise in low-lying areas such as Deer Park and Minorca.

The Mississippi crested at 16.41 feet Wednesday at La Crosse, Wis., and could take weeks to slip below the flood stage of 12 feet. The river is expected to crest in Iowa over the next week, according to the Associated Press.

The Mississippi topped 18 feet Thursday near Davenport, Iowa, three feet above flood stage. Rain is forecast through early next week for that region but is not likely to raise the river.