The lower Mississippi River is rising to nearly the record height of 1927. To relieve pressure on downstream levees protecting Baton Rouge and New Orleans, gates at the Morganza Spillway were opened. The water released is inundating the Atchafalaya River Basin, displacing more than 25,000 residents, and flood levels are expected to continue rising through late May.
Portions of the Landsat satellite images acquired on April 16 (before) and May 18, 2011 (after) illustrate the effects of the open spillway. USGS Landsat images will be used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and regional officials to illustrate the extent of diverted water and monitor the long-term recovery of the area.