February 22, 2018
Current Flooding Conditions
– Ohio River – Many fleets and docks are shutdown up and down the river. Slow transits expected throughout the river. An additional 2”-6” of rainfall are in the forecast through this weekend will cause the river levels continuing to rise. Do not expect returning to normal conditions for at least 2-3 weeks. Beginning to see bridge clearance issues in Cincinnati, not expected to crest for another 7-10 days. River levels in Cincinnati are expected to approach 60’, which will be around the 20th highest in history.
– Tennessee River—Chickamauga Lock (TR 471) is closed due to high water, do not expect them to open until this weekend at the earliest.
– Cumberland River—Cheatham Lock (CR 148) is expected to close today for high water, expect intermittent closures through the middle of next week
– Illinois River—Operations suspended due to high water/high flows Starved Rock (IR 231) through Chicago. Expect limited movement to begin in the Lemont/Chicago area over the weekend. Dresden Lock (IR 271), Marseilles Lock (IR 245), and Starved Rock Lock (IR 231) are all currently closed, do not expect to resume operations through this area until at least 3/2.
– Lower Miss/Gulf—High water has resulted in reduced tow sizes NB and SB, expect this to continue for the foreseeable future. Baton Rouge is not expected to crest until the middle of March around 40’. New Orleans is not expected to crest until the second half of March around 15’.
Lagrange Lock (80) Closure — There will be two full 5 day closures, the first will be from 06:00 3/19 until 18:00 on 3/23. The second will be from 06:00 on 4/3 until 18:00 on 4/7. These closures will be to replace the miter gates.
Peoria and Lagrange Locks are down, boats are running the pass
LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER:
Daily River Closure at mile 811 on the Lower Miss – Work has been suspended, will not come back until the Cairo gauge is 35’ and falling. Beginning on 1/15 and lasting until roughly 3/25. This closure will be for 12 hours each day, 0630-1830, 7 days a week. This will be a full river closure during work hours, boats will only transit at night through this area.
Reduced tow sizes Cairo to the Gulf—High water has caused us to reduce our tows by 5 barges
Fog/Wind Delays— Fog continues to impact boats from the Lower Miss to the Gulf Coast, reducing productivity. Conditions will exist for fog/wind delays for the next 7-10 days.
Transiting through Cincinnati Bridges is Daylight Only above 45’: River has reached 45’, not expected to drop below this level for the foreseeable future
UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER:
Mel Price Lock (UM 201) Closure— Main chamber will be closed from January 3—March 8, auxiliary chamber will be available. Beginning to see more activity to and from the Illinois River. The volume is starting to level out, delay is expected to be more manageable moving forward. This morning there were 6 boats in queue, total delay is around 6-9 hours.
Rock Pinnacle removal at Thebes, restrictions added (UMR 38-45) – Work has been suspended due to high water, work will stay suspended until the Cape Girardeau river stage falls below 15’. The time table for this is uncertain at this point. Closures outlined below
Work will take place 5 days a week, no weekends. Work will be done during daylight hours, estimate 0700-1700. During work hours, no tows will pass, complete closure. During non-work hours tows may pass unrestricted.
Chickamauga Lock (TR 471) Closures—2/6-3/5: Daytime intermittent closures from 0700-1730, open during nighttime hours; 3/6-3/11: Complete Closure; 3/12-3/18: Fully operational, no restrictions; 3/19-3/25: Complete closure; 3/26-4/19: Daytime intermittent closures from 0700-1730, open during nighttime hours.
Inland Waterway Weather Report
Heavy rain…heavy snow…and severe thunderstorms highlight the weather today.
A frontal system stretches across the Tennessee/Lower Mississippi Val-leys. The front will drift northward today/tomorrow. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the region north of Cairo for freezing rain/ snow. Daily rounds of moderate to heavy rain is expected over the region south of Chester.
A low will move out of the Southern Plains and across the Upper Mississippi Valley on Saturday/Sunday. Moderate to heavy rain/freezing rain/ snow is expected over the region north of St Louis…and moderate to heavy rain is predicted for the region south of St Louis. Severe thunder-storms are also possible on Saturday over the watershed south of Cairo.
Another front will enter the watershed on Wednesday and produce light/ moderate rain/freezing rain/snow for the region north of St Louis and moderate to locally heavy rain over the region south of St Louis. The heaviest rains right now as forecasted to fall south of the Ohio River.
7day QPF totals (through Thursday morning):
1-3” of rain/freezing rain/snow is predicted for the region north of Chester.
2-7” rain is predicted for the region south of Chester.
Bill Frederick, USACE