The Mississippi River is still rising and is nearly as high as it's ever been. Tuesday they say it will crest at 56 which it's only achieved in 1927 and 1997 when we moved our stuff across the river to the high and dry Natchez. This picture is of the brand new Vidalia Tourism and Convention Center (the building on the left at the foot of the bridge). I took it from the bluff overlooking Vidalia, Louisiana.
When I crossed the bridge from work yesterday headed home, I could see that the water is nearly up to the top of the bank. The river stays between 15 and 30 feet most of the year.
An engineer told the local paper that "the levees are in good shape" (like he's supposed to panic everyone and tell us they're about to break) but "we have a tremendous amount of sand boils - which we're sandbagging." Asked if they were in good shape, he said, "Yes, but that can change in two minutes." How reassuring.
A sand boil is what happens when pressure on the sands under the levees give way from the ground being saturated for so long and the power of the river bubbles up through to the populated side of the levee. If these can't be controlled they can cause a breach in the levee much like a dam bursting.
Which - is why we're thinking about building a raft or at the very least taking some of our stuff to high ground like we did in 1997. 'Cause there's still water and snow coming down the Mississipi from states north.
At least I have it on good authority that if the levee did give somewhere - and if you have prompt warning - you have time to get away.
This afternoon I'm going to the riverwalk by the river to get a close up view. I'll update tomorrow.