Close Window

Highwater 2011 UPDATE:

Lower Mississippi River Dispatch Vol 7 No 5

Quapaw Canoe Company

Clarksdale, Mississippi -- Helena, Arkansas

Serving the greater Lower Mississippi Valley

from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico

Quick Update from the “Upper” Mississippi Delta:

Thank you for your messages of concern and support -- and sorry I haven’t been able to write personal responses, we’re turned a little upside down (and I’ve been doing some exploring on the side) -- but please know that everything is mostly okay here in the Northern Delta Counties -- except for the farms and businesses on the “other” side of the levee. Any prayers & wishes should go to the employees of the Helena and Friars Point granaries and the Lula and Tunica casinos -- who have been sent home and have no idea what they will return to after the water recedes.

We’re shut down indefinitely for overnights but I’m offering personal tours of the highwater for anyone brave enough to venture out -- today & tomorrow I’ll be in Helena, and this weekend in Memphis, next week back in the Delta, I’ve posted some photos to Facebook:

It seems like the crest might be sliding through the area today & tomorrow, but our worries here are going downstream to all those south of us, the good people of the South Mississippi Delta, Vicksburg, Port Gibson, Natchez, Vidalia, all western Louisiana, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and all points south. The Yazoo Backwater Levee will be breached but no one knows exactly to what extent it will flood the southern Delta counties. Bonnet Carre Spillway has been opened and it seems like the Morganza Floodway might be reopened. Our prayers go out to all the people in the Atchafalaya River Basin. The addition of the overflowing Arkansas River and flooding White River is adding even higher waters downstream. While we’re seeing the 2nd highest water ever north of the Arkansas, they will be seeing record water heights below -- even higher than the historic record high of 1937.

What will happen now that we are cresting? Will the river fall back down? This all depends on what happens upstream with any future rainfall, and also ground saturation, Montana snowpack, and the mysterious pulses of the largest watershed in North America that continue to evade even the most informed predictions. I've been swimming every time I go out, but am thinking twice about it now that I am seeing all the stuff getting washed out of places not used to being covered in water.

What will happen after the river falls? On the islands we’ll be left with most beautifully sculpted sandbars and freshly cleaned & rejuvenated forests imaginable, it will be like God has re-created the world anew, all the plants & birds & animals will rejoice in the falling waters and the return of sunshine in the the reemerging landscapes.