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Bonnet Carre Spillway Opens

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway on Sunday. Heavy rain in the Mississippi Valley and rising river water stages prompted the opening.

The spillway was opened to divert water into Lake Pontchartrain to help keep the volume of Mississippi River flows at New Orleans from exceeding 1.25 million cubic feet per second. That amount of water is enough to fill the entire Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a minute and 40 seconds.

The spillway may be open for several weeks. All public access areas within the spillway are closed until further notice.

This was the 11th time the Bonnet Carre Spillway has been opened since its creation in 1931. It was last opened during the river floods of 2011. The spillway was created in response to the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 which flooded much of the Mississippi River basin.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say they are monitoring the Morganza Spillway. No word has been given yet as to whether it too will be opened or not.

Travis Lux primarily contributes science and health stories to Louisiana's Lab. He studied anthropology and sociology at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, and picked up his first microphone at the Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole, MA. In his spare time he loves to cook -- especially soups and casseroles.