The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Southeastern Louisiana last week which will last through most of March.
The river will crest at or near 42.5 feet around Wednesday, March 21, according to the National Weather Service.
The river is not currently at flood stage, but over the next 20 days will rise well-above what the Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness deems “flood stage” Director Deano Moran said.
The rising water is due to the flooding of the Red River Valley area which the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOSHEP) has been closely monitoring.
“We typically see these types of river issues develop during this time of year,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement. “Recent heavy rains in Louisiana and other parts of the country with rivers that impact Louisiana has increased the urgency to prepare for this emergency. Many parishes in north Louisiana are taking action now.”
The most important action West Side residents can take at this stage is to stay off of the levee and out of the way of government officials monitoring it, Moran said.
Several years of high water worsen seepage, or the “bubbling up” of water from underground in West Baton Rouge, Executive Director of the Atchafalaya Basin Levee Board said. Seepage can cause flooding and damage to buildings and homes.
The most recent flood scare was in 2011, when the Mississippi River crested at 47.8 feet, just short of the 48.7-foot record set in 1937. Flooding was prevented in 2011 by the opening of 28 restraining devices at the Bonnet Carre spillway.