The Army Corps of Engineers blew a two-mile hole into the Birds Point levee, which has flooded 130,000 acres of farmland in Missouri’s Mississippi County, in an effort to protect nearby Cairo, Ill., from rising floodwaters.
But farmers who pleaded unsuccessfully for the Supreme Court to stop the blast, which diverted floodwaters and inundated their land, had 130,000 acres of severely damaged farmland and close to $100 million in crop losses, a farmers’ association said. About 100 homes are in the deluged area, according to Army engineers.
The purpose was to divert floodwaters from Cairo, a town of about 3,000.
The government engineers blasted the first hole into the Birds Point levee site at Sikeston, Mo., at about 10 p.m. Monday and the second one at around noon Tuesday, said Lisa Coghlan, spokeswoman for the Army engineers in Sikeston.
Flood stage for the Mississippi River in the area is normally 40 feet, but on Monday, the water was at 61.72 feet, the engineers said. By Tuesday, after the two blasts, the water was receding and had fallen to 60.12 feet, the engineers said.
“It was definitely a success,” Coghlan said. The engineers planned to stage one more blast, probably today, depending on how quickly they could move equipment through the rain-soaked area, Coghlan said.
“The ground is absolutely just mush,” she explained. “It’s been raining for two weeks and today is actually the first sunny day.” Read more…