The flow of the Mississippi River was reversed upstream as Hurricane Ida made landfall and pushed inland.
Storm surge and strong winds from Hurricane Ida stopped the flow of the Mississippi River near New Orleans on Sunday and actually caused it to reverse – something the US Geological Survey says is “extremely uncommon.”
According to USGS, the Mississippi River’s stream was reversed for approximately four hours near Belle Chasse, Lousiana, which is located in Plaquemines Parish.
— Brian Olson (@mrbrianolson) August 29, 2021
“I remember, offhand, that there was some flow reversal of the Mississippi River during Hurricane Katrina, but it is extremely uncommon,” reported Scott Perrien, a supervising hydrologist with the USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The river level on Sunday rose about 7 feet due to storm surge pushing up the river at the USGS gauge in Belle Chasse, about 20 miles south of New Orleans in southeastern Louisiana.
During that time, the flow of the river slowed from about 2 feet per second down to about half a foot per second in the other direction.
USGS specialist: “The river is feeling the effects of the storm over a large area. All the way up to Baton Rouge the river has risen 1.5 feet in the past 12 hours as the surge pushes up the river. And the water level will likely rise more in the coming hours here in Baton Rouge.”
Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday afternoon in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph. Ida is projected to continue inland over portions of Louisiana and western Mississippi on Monday, according to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
Trailer pieces just blew across hwy 23 in Plaquemines Parish. pic.twitter.com/44D7n4RScq
— Adam Ney (@sayneykid) October 28, 2020
Hurricane Ida’s landfall comes on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which hit Louisiana in 2005 as a Category 3 storm with 125 mph sustained winds. Storm surge with Katrina measured up to 24-28 feet, according to the NHC.
By comparison, Hurricane Ida is forecast to bring a lower storm surge of 12-16 feet to some areas of southeast Louisiana, the NHC says. And near New Orleans it’s expected to be even lower: 8-12 feet outside New Orleans and 5-8 feet along Lake Pontchartrain.
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