The first spillway was the Bonnet Carre. Then, the New Madrid, and just last Saturday, it was the Morganza. The excellent reporters and camera-persons of WAFB/WLBT did a sterling job of capturing us all footage for this commentary, and they deserve a hat tip here.
In the first image, we have the news chopper making their approach for a visual on the opened bay. While it's small, in comparison to the entire spillway, this one small bay allows 125,000 cubic feet of water per second.
As the news chopper gets closer to the Morganza Spillway, the workers and observers on the pavement above are seen scurrying excitedly about. No doubt, some of these folks are somewhat emotional. Literally thousands of acres of land are expected to be under upwards of 15 feet of water, within 48 hours of the event documented here.
A broader shot of the Morganza Spillway shows a better view of how many workers and others were on hand for this historic event. There might not have been any ribbon-cutting, but this event will prove historically significant.
One final close-up of the opened bay shows a bit of the power of the current. One cubic meter weighs a metric ton. So the forces behind the current from the spillway would destroy a building. Even when most of the current is slowed, some 25,000 people are still expected to lose property to the flood waters, until this June, at earliest.
By opening the Morganza Spillway, the Army Corps of Engineers hopes to divert water away from Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Unfortunately, not only does the map show how much other land will flood, their own disclaimer states the results cannot be guaranteed. Both cities, and all of this rural countryside might still flood.
On the other hand, doing nothing will all but guarantee the two cities' destruction. To lose these two major metropolitan communities – one being a state capital – would cause pain on a national level. Baton Rouge and Louisiana are both worth saving. Now, the rest of us need to be there for those negatively impacted by this gambit ordered by the Army Corps of Engineers.