Weeks after state emergency officials announced the Mississippi River could reach flood levels in Louisiana, that time has arrived.
As of Friday night, in Baton Rouge, the Mississippi is around 43 feet, and it is not expected to get much higher. However, the impact of the rising water is definitely affecting people who work on the river.
“We’re experiencing some extremely high water out here in the river, which creates a problem for pushing barges because you can only handle, say half as many barges. Sometimes, we have to add horsepower or extra boats on tow to be able to push them up and down the river,” said Z. David Deloach, the owner of Deloach Marine Services in Port Allen.
“It’s extremely intense,” said Deloach. “Things happen so much faster with the current that you have got to be on your toes at all times.”
The river will crest at 43.5 feet in Baton Rouge Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Chris Guilbeaux of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said officials are prepared for the crest.
“We’ve been constantly watching this for the last few weeks, specifically last week, we started for the most part and have completed a lot of protective measures in some really concerned areas,” Guilbeaux said.
The Bonnet Carre Spillway is expected to stay open for the next several weeks. Guilbeaux said once the river crests and dies down, they’ll have to see what type of damage the rising waters caused to the levees and other protective structures.