Mississippi River Crest Not as High as Expected in MS City

By: HOLBROOK MOHR - Associated Press Writer
By: HOLBROOK MOHR - Associated Press Writer

The Mississippi River has crested at more than 14 feet above flood stage in Vicksburg, Mississippi, slightly lower than expected, easing worries about water spilling over a nearby levee and inundating thousands more acres of farmland.

Still, officials warn that the flood is by no means over. The river is expected to stay at its crest for several days before beginning a long, slow retreat. It could remain above flood stage until mid-June.

This year's flooding has tested the limits of Mississippi's $13 billion levee system as the river rose to levels not seen since the 1920s in some places.

Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, commander of the Army Corps' Mississippi Valley Division, says engineers pledged to fix any lingering problems with floodwalls, though there's little threat of any serious breaches.

No more evacuations are anticipated in the city of Vicksburg.

Some 2,000 people in that area have already been forced from their homes.

In the Louisiana community of Butte LaRose, a mandatory evacuation order kicks in Saturday, as water pouring into a spillway upstream starts reaching a river basin. Authorities have been going door to door notifying residents who haven't already evacuated.

The Coast Guard commandant, Adm. Robert Papp, toured some of the flooded areas today, starting in Natchez.

He was also briefed on efforts to control ship traffic, which has been disrupted by the flooding. Officials say they plan to spend at least a week re-marking the river so cargo ships and barges can safely navigate the waterway.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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