Levee discussion: Public and leaders meet to talk - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Levee discussion: Public and leaders meet to talk

Posted: Updated:
"Everybody's asking me, well will we operate the project, and the answer at this point, is I don't know," said Walsh. "Everybody's asking me, well will we operate the project, and the answer at this point, is I don't know," said Walsh.
Major General Michael Walsh says at this point it's up to mother nature. Major General Michael Walsh says at this point it's up to mother nature.

It's been a big question to everyone in the Heartland. Will the Army Corps of Engineers decide to breach the Bird's Point Levee on purpose?

Wednesday the Mississippi River Commission, the Army Corps of Engineers, Representative Jo Ann Emerson, and the public all met today in East Prairie to discuss that very topic.

Major General Michael Walsh says at this time, if the water level get high enough, there really isn't another option, but breach the levee according to the flood plan.

He says it's not something he wants to do, but his main concern is public safety.

"Everybody's asking me, well will we operate the project, and the answer at this point, is I don't know," said Walsh.

Major General Michael Walsh says at this point it's up to mother nature.

"Forecast is 60.5 on the Cairo gauge. That forecast is as early as this Saturday," said Walsh.

That 60.5 seems to be the magic number. That's when Walsh says there needs to be some action.

"At 60.5 is where we need to start making decisions," said Walsh.

Walsh says today the gauge in Cairo reached 58.27. He says when it reaches 59 feet, everyone in the spillway must evacuate. And that has people concerned.

"Give us enough time to get out. I don't care what I have to leave behind, as long as me and my kids are safe," says one of the meeting attendees.

"How much forewarning will we have prior to the activation?" asked another meeting goer.

"I can't say how much time it's going to be, but I'll give you as much as I can," said Walsh.

If that happens, and they do enact the plan to blow up the levee, here's what would happen.

First, they would detonate the northern inflow fuse plug. Twenty-four hours later, they would detonate the two southern outflow fuse plugs around the New Madrid area.

Farmers like Ellott Deffty says that would hurt the farmers of Missouri.

"You'd have some damage. And you'd have some land that wouldn't be back into production for along time. So, it would be an economic blow," said Deffty.

So for now, it's a game of wait and see what mother nature brings.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow