NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed the final bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway, a Louisiana flood control structure that diverts the Mississippi River's water into a brackish lake.

The Corps began opening the spillway in late February after the river's level began to rise due to heavy storms in the upper Midwest and Ohio River Valley, basins which feed into the Mississippi. Crews on Thursday replaced large wooden "needles" that had been pulled from some of the 350 bays to close the structure as the river level fell.

The New Orleans Advocate reports the river was at about 16.1 feet (4.90 meters) above sea level Thursday. The National Weather Service forecasts it will continue to fall, reaching about 14.3 feet (4.35 meters) in early May.


Information from: The New Orleans Advocate,

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