KATC Chief Meteorologist Rob Perillo Talks Mississippi River Flooding And Flood Preparedness For Acadiana Residents
Relenting rains have hit the Midwest, swelling rivers and other waterways. In Missouri, for example, six small levees north of St. Louis were overtopped by the surging Mississippi River. Considering we are coming up on the two-year anniversary of the flooding that came to the Atchafalaya River and openings and closings of the Morganza and Bonnet Carre Spillways, we decided to bring KATC Chief Meteorologist Rob Perillo onto "Your Afternoon Drive Home" to address this issue. With all of this flooding happening north of Louisiana, what could possibly happen here in Acadiana? Perillo says,
That's a really tough call because a lot of the water that will be coming down the Mississippi won't be getting here for about ten days. And the question is: How dry has it been, or not dry as you go farther south along the Mississippi River? But, history tells us when there is a lot of snowpack in the North, and this April has been the snowiest April across portions of the Rockies through the Midwest, now we're getting the Spring rains on top of that, so we are going to see water levels that will more than likely get very close to flood stage along the Mississippi.
So the question is: How much of that water will get diverted down the Atchafalaya? In 2011, the Morganza Spillway, as gates were being opened, sent lots of water into the Atchafalaya. At one point, 108,000 cubic feet per second was pouring into the Morganza Spillway and then down to the basin, which in one day Perillo says equaled 3,600 Superdomes full of water. It was a huge concern in St. Landry, St. Martin and St. Mary Parishes, particularly in Morgan City and the surrounding areas.
"(I) don't think we're going to be looking at perhaps the opening of the Morganza Spillway once again, but we are going to see water levels coming up to rather high levels," says Perillo. "And the forecast time frame...would be in about 10 to 14 days. So, first week of May, we're going to see a pretty good bump coming down both in the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya Rivers."
Perillo also pointed out that, in 2011, many years of drought absorbed a lot of the water that got into the Atchafalaya Swamp. He says our moisture is much greater in the Atchafalaya Swamp right now, so if there is water than comes into that area, we will see a significant increase.
Perillo says he expects the Department of Homeland Security to make a statement on this in the next week or so. He does point out, though, that a lot of this is still very preliminary.
So what can you do to prepare yourself when flooding comes to your area, besides listening to Newstalk 96.5 FM KPEL, especially if you live in a low-lying area? Perillo says,
Always have your stuff ready to go, ready to be picked up. And make sure your valuables and the things that you hold dear to yourself, your pictures and all of your financial information, is in a safe, dry place and preferably off-site.
To listen to Rob Perillo's complete interview, CLICK BELOW: