This will be the third time in history that the Morganza Spillway will be opened if opened. The previous years were back in 1973 and 2011.
Sgt. Major Bonin, who is in charge of the operation, says this event affects the entire state, “not only the Atchafalaya but the folks that are outside of that. We have a lot of soldiers some that even live in that area. It’s all close to home.”
In May 2011, a very similar situation happened when the Mississippi River flooded.
There were areas of moderate flooding in the Morganza Spillway and Atchafalaya Basin. The National Guard in Lafayette is in preparation for when the spillway will be opened on Monday. They are organizing engineering equipment across the state.
Sgt. Major Bonin says that they were told to expect exactly the same situation as 2011. The Parish Officials have asked the National Guard to help them construct engineer obstacles for the levees. Soldiers, local authorities, and agencies will be improving the existing levees. One of the projects they will be working on is called Hesco barriers and Hesco baskets to create a levee for high water.
Officials are using 2011 as a guideline to prevent any future catastrophic events.
Sgt. Major Bonin tells us that they are taking those precautions that they identified and after action reviews and they are employing those lessons learned in this new incident of 2016.
High water vehicles will be used if major flooding were to happen for search and rescue and evacuations.
The National Guard will also help out with traffic.
If necessary, about 30 gators, all-terrain vehicles, will be sent out to patrol the levees.