The Mississippi river, which is the largest system of rivers in North America, is displaying why it is nicknamed the Mighty Mississippi as flooding along its banks is forcing residents out and triggering flood relief systems installed decades ago to diminish, if not fully control, its impact.
In the latest display of attempts to relieve its flooding, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who operate a vast system of flood control gates along the river and its tributaries, on Saturday, began taking steps to protect Louisiana's largest cities.
The largest swamp in the United States, the sparsely populated Atachafalaya Basin, will be flooded purposely for the first time since 1973 starting on Saturday to protect Baton Rouge and Louisiana, with a combined 2 million residents further south.
Morganza Floodway, a massive flood control structure along the river, was authorized for construction in 1928, a year after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, which was the most destructive of its type in U.S. history.
Officials partially opened the flood gates of the Morganza on Saturday after the Mississippi river, which has already caused flooding in other states, crested near the area.
Opening the Morganza's bays at just 25 percent of their capacity will impact about 25,000 people and 11,000 structures, according to reports. About 150,000 cubic feet of water per second will flow through.