From the ABC 7 Weather team

Flooded Mississippi River seen from space (VIDEO)

May 20, 2011 - 02:22 PM
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Major to record flooding is occurring on the lower Mississippi River, driving folks from their homes and putting alligators in places they shouldn’t be.


The 2011 flooding of the Mississippi River compared with the same areas in April 2010 (NASA).

It is boat weather in the District, where the Potomac and other rivers are sloshing over their rims and flooding the streets. (Photo gallery.) But this is not the only city to be inundated. Major to record flooding is occurring on the lower Mississippi River, driving folks from their homes and putting alligators in places they shouldn’t be. Check out this shot taken by a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries crew near the Vidalia Convention Center, in the northern part of the state:

vidalia convention gator

If gators on the loose weren’t enough, the state government is also warning people to seal “any gaps in doorways or windows that would allow a snake to enter your residence or office.” Let’s just hope they’re not talking about this snake.

So how bad is it down there?

Last week, the Army Corps of Engineers threw open the floodgates at the Morganza Spillway, a drastic measure last performed in 1973. While that action might help save New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the Cajun residents who live in the flood basin have no such luck. Not that they have had a lot of luck before the Spillway deluge. Reports the Associated Press:

Morgan City shrimper Harry Ribardi was still waiting Wednesday on the check BP promised to make up for his losses last year. Now he's facing another man-made disaster.

"This water is messing me up right now," Ribardi, 68, said in a heavy Cajun-French accent. "Even if it don't flood me, it's going to shove the shrimp way offshore where it's hard to get them."

So far only one death has been reported – a 69-year-old man who apparently drowned while trying to hold on to a fence in Vicksburg, Miss., where the river crested at a record-setting 57.1 feet on the night of May 18 (the old record was 56.2 feet in 1927). Hear’s hoping it won’t, but the death toll could climb as the river and its tributaries are expected to remain quite high to really high for the next several weeks, depending on how much rain falls.

The possible range of the Mississippi’s flooding is made clear in this 3D model from NOAA. The light blue lumps and ridges represent elevated areas safe from the raging rivers, while dark blue swaths are low-lying regions in the line of the flood. The topographic map was compiled using data obtained by Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2000:

noaa mississippi flooding map
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