Mississippi Braces For Flood Waters

Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 8:48am

Swollen Mississippi river continues to bring misery to residents living near its banks.

The water is just about everywhere, washing away businesses and more than nine thousand jobs at the nine casinos in Tunica, Mississippi.

The bad hand dealt by the floods has dropped the primary source of income in the small town from eighty seven million dollars to zero.

Webster Franklin President of Tunica’s Conventions Bureau says "…infrastructure is taking a big beating, just have to wait and see."

The problem is the water won't wait.

As it continues to "snake" across the south, the ripple effects of the flood could be felt across the country.

Of course the biggest impact is along the path of the widening river.
The flooding is so bad; it can be seen from space.

Before and after images of Memphis, from a NASA satellite, provides some perspective on how massive the damage really is.

But the view from the ground may be the most striking.

"This is the flood of a generation...” said Austin Golding who runs barges down the Mississippi River. “…Nobody's ever seen water this high and its likely nobody ever will again. This is a monumental flood."

The flood is still growing as it moves south, through Mississippi and ultimately into Louisiana.

The army corps of engineers has already opened more than 70 flood gates on the Bonnet Carrie Spillway, northeast of New Orleans.

Soon they could do the same at the Morganza structure near Baton Rouge.

The flow there would threaten more than thirteen thousand homes and businesses.

Major General Michael Walsh of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says not opening the gates in Morganza could be disastrous.

"If I don't use this (Morganza Spillway) about 200-miles of levee over here could be topped and three-miles south of Baton Rouge would go underwater. I keep saying huge and immense and it’s hard to describe how much water is in the system. It’s the most that's ever been in the system."

It’s a system that continues to be pushed past its limits..

Jay Gray, NBC News, Tunica, Mississippi.

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