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Mississippi Floodway May Be Opened for Third Time in History

  • Rural Louisiana could be inundated as flood gates are opened
  • Mississippi flooding has vexed shipping for months on waterway
The Morganza spillway in 2011.
The Morganza spillway in 2011.Photographer: Julie Dermansky/Corbis via Getty Images
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A major barrier that keeps the Mississippi River in its current path may be opened for just the third time in its history, potentially flooding a large part of rural Louisiana.

Concern is growing that heavy rains will cause the Mississippi to flood over the top of the Morganza Floodway -- a long dam-like structure that is designed to divert 600,000 cubic feet per second of water to take pressure off the river. To prevent that, the Army Corps of Engineers may be forced to open the gates of the barrier.