Engineers will blow up Missouri levee, official says
May 2nd, 2011
06:25 PM ET

Engineers will blow up Missouri levee, official says

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will blow up a levee at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers due to record high-water levels in both rivers, with work beginning Monday night, said Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, president of the Mississippi River Commission.

At 4 p.m. Monday, water levels outside Cairo, Illinois, were 61.4 feet - well above the flood stage of 40 feet - according to the National Weather Service. Walsh ordered the intentional breach to alleviate pressure in the river system and to protect Cairo, even though it may lead to the flooding of 130,000 acres of mostly farmland in Missouri.

Missouri officials have been fighting the proposed levee breach.

Post by:
Filed under: Illinois • Missouri
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. windmill2

    The farmland in Missouri should not be flooded. It will never be the same. Hundreds of people living in Missouri may lose their homes. The people in Cairo should be relocated as they could live on welfare elsewhere as well as in Cairo.

    May 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnS

      While the Corp of Engineers has dallied around trying to decided whether or not to blow the spillway, hundreds of homes have been lost in Olive Branch and Miller City, Il. Metropolis, Il and Paducah, Ky are now in jeopardy as well. I think we can all live with a few less Missouri cotton fields.

      May 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Worried

    I wonder what 265 tons of explosion will do to the New Madrid Fault line. You know we are right on top of that fault...Just thinking if in the end there might be something other than flooding and farmland to worry about, because if Mother Nature gets a jolt like one that a 265 ton explosion will produce; will she be very happy??????

    May 2, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shaking my head

      Exactly how is it geologically possible for the breach of a levee to trigger an earthquake? Please explain, and don't just cite worries. I'd love to see some scientific data proving your argument.

      May 3, 2011 at 5:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. Adam

    A couple of points to consider:

    1) Those farmers knew this was a possibility, they chose to plant on land that was on the floodplain and could be purposely flooded if a situation like this should arise.
    2)This isn't just to save Cairo, this is to help ease pressure on levees downriver as well. I can tell you that here in West TN we could use the help. Our fertile farmland is being flooded already.
    3) People live in Cairo, it's their home. I know there's not much left and I always roll my eyes when my grandad tells me about coming in from Mound City to the big city in Cairo and how great it was, but it's still a place that many call home and don't want to see washed away. Nobody wants to see their land flooded, and this is not an ideal situation no matter what happens, but its going to happen whether they like it or not. This is what happens when you mess with the Mississippi, unfortunately.

    May 2, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Your first point applies equally to people who built a town in flood plains. Considering how many years (5-10) it'll take to re build a town, and how many DECADES (5-10) it'll take to repair farmland, I'd rather evacuate the town.

      But, I agree on your other points. It's not an easy call.

      May 2, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Peggy Sue

    The pesiticides in those fields are responsible for massive neurological damage, PSP and cancers to former farmers and their families. If they flood the fields, it will create a toxic run-off for decades.

    May 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      This is why Peggy Sue got married instead of going into science. She believed any dumb crap she heard.

      May 3, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. Al

    This has nothing to do with saving Cairo. This is about all the dams and rivers back in Kentucky and Tennessee! They are flooded and cant hold anymore. This farm land that holds no more than 200 people is owned on the understanding that it is an emergency flood way, the levee will be broken in the case of Emergency.. They have been compensated over the years more than 2.5 times its worth. This is the worst flood since 1927. “in Case of emergency break levee”.. Break the friggen levee!

    May 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ Bird

      It's heartbreaking but the Levy must be removed as soon as possible for the greater good. Al is correct, break the Levy now and then pray for your friends, neighbors and strangers alike. Share what you can with others and remember it's better to give than it is receive. Just ask those affected by the Monster Winds and Floods in 2011.

      AJ in NC

      May 2, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. countryboy

    Sounds crayzy to me. http://WWW.CDBABY.COM/ALL/NUMONE bye now!

    May 3, 2011 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. wranglerBratt

    Fars I care and most of everyone else southeast Mo. Thinks that Cairo ill. Should get flooded cause that is nothing but a big *DD drug town so let it go ... We all know how you feel about good folks

    May 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Richard

    (According to John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, there are actually many ways that human activity can trigger earthquakes. "The main one is by filling large dams," he said in the book Life's Little Mysteries. "The weight of the water that builds up behind a dam exerts a huge amount of stress on the land below."

    Occasionally the land shifts under all that new weight. In the 1930s, for example, the construction of Hoover Dam in Arizona unleashed a burst of seismic activity in the vicinity that reached magnitude 5 on the Richter scale. And in 1963, a severe earthquake — magnitude 7 — shook the reservoir behind Koyna Dam in India shortly after its construction, killing 200 people in a nearby town.)

    May 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Richard

    My facts may be off so pardon my stupidity but I heard about the plan to blow up the levee trapping water between the two levies at some considerable depth, and since the water will be trapped between two levees it won’t be free to run across the land like God intended. The second Levee protects New Madrid, the very weight of all that water trapped between two levees could cause the New Madrid fault to rupture.

    (According to John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, there are actually many ways that human activity can trigger earthquakes. "The main one is by filling large dams," he said in the book Life's Little Mysteries. "The weight of the water that builds up behind a dam exerts a huge amount of stress on the land below."

    Occasionally the land shifts under all that new weight. In the 1930s, for example, the construction of Hoover Dam in Arizona unleashed a burst of seismic activity in the vicinity that reached magnitude 5 on the Richter scale. And in 1963, a severe earthquake — magnitude 7 — shook the reservoir behind Koyna Dam in India shortly after its construction, killing 200 people in a nearby town.)

    May 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JEFFCOMO

    The taxpayers pay to build and maintain the levees. The taxpayers pay to blow up and breech the levees. The taxpayers pay the farmers for the loss of the land and their crops for the next couple of years. The taxpayers pay to rebuild and maintain the levees. When do the taxpayers win?

    May 4, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. odell bryant

    As one who lives in Cairo,Il I just hope the trade off is worthy of the sacrifice

    May 4, 2011 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. Scottish Mama

    I have just called the Channel 4 News in Missouri. I asked how they would rebuild the homes for the people in the flooded area and she did not know and she would look into it. She did not know if they were to be compensated. I hope that the people in missouri get together to help the people in this area rebuild. Katie was the women that I spoke to and I hope they have a report on this soon. They would have to rebuild the levee again. The 88 year old farmer knows nothing else. And I always cringe when I hear people say these people should know better than to live in this area. Farmers are far from rich. When the flood of 93 was here Cokie Roberts said why do these people live here, that was after the man they showed had no teeth. But would Cokie have said that about the million dollar homes in Calif. sliding down into the sea or when her daughter Campbells home town was hit by hurricane Katrina. I think not.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. windmill2

    We need to let Cairo go and become a part of a flood plain rather than farmland. It's history is over. Live in the present. The people who live there should be relocated with assistance to places that offer jobs, education, and social services that they need. You cannot relocate farmland which is very valuable for providing food and sustaining the economy.

    May 7, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. C

    It is sad that one town will be saved while the number of people who will loose their homes far exceeds the population of Cairo. Down river, this not only affects the farmland, (which all would agree is more desirable to flood than homes), but entire communities along the Mississippi River. Many of these people have no flood insurance, are in the poorer communties and will never recover from this flood. I hope that who ever made the final decision is able to live with the lives that they have dramatically changed.

    May 10, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Makeda Conchas

    To get the best projects then you need to hire a dedicated group of professionals who utilize their expertise to deliver an array of unique designs. - Suite 202

    December 30, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4