Mississippi River flooding slows at Birds Point levee

Thursday, June 9, 2011 | 2:19 p.m. CDT; updated 5:03 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 9, 2011

ST. LOUIS — For the first time in more than five weeks, the Mississippi River has dropped low enough to stop flowing through a gap in a blown-up levee in southeast Missouri.

In a significant turning point in a long-lasting flood, the still swollen but falling river stopped rushing through a hole in the Birds Point levee Thursday morning, the Army Corps of Engineers said. The river had been continuously flooding the area since the corps blew a hole in the earthen levee May 2 to relieve flooding pressure on nearby Cairo, Ill.

An estimated 130,000 acres were flooded in Missouri because of the intentional levee breach. Water remains on some of that land but has been flowing back into the Mississippi River farther south along the New Madrid floodway.

Although flooding is occurring or forecast for much of the Missouri River, which feeds into the Mississippi River near St. Louis, the corps said that is not expected to cause renewed flooding in the area of the Birds Point levee nor anywhere else along the Mississippi River.

"Unless we get a very significant rainfall, we should have a steady drop in the lower Mississippi River even though we're still going to get a lot of flow out of the Missouri River," said Bob Anderson, a spokesman for the Mississippi Valley Division of the Army Corps of Engineers.

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