May 13, 2011 at 1:00 pm #2269
Three Million Acres May Flood in Louisiana, Governor Says
Wed May 11, 2011
Three million acres, an area almost the size of Connecticut, may go under water as the Mississippi River flooding moves south and threatens Louisiana. “Based on inundation maps we are looking at, about 3 million acres in Louisiana will be under water,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said at a press conference in Baton Rouge yesterday. About 2,500 people inside the floodway may be affected while backwater flooding may impact 22,500, he said.
The river was expected to hold just below 48 feet (14.6 meters) for a day in Memphis before the floods move south toward Louisiana and then empty into the Gulf of Mexico past New Orleans in about two weeks. It was at 47.75 feet at 8:45 p.m. local time yesterday, according to the weather service’s website.
To relieve the threat to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may open the Morganza floodway. Opening the floodway halfway would inundate a swath of central Louisiana along the Atchafalaya River with 5 feet to 20 feet of water. The decision to open the floodway may come as soon as May 14, Jindal said.
“The trigger is 1.5 million cubic feet of water a second going past the Red River Landing,” Jindal said. “We are at approximately 1.36 million right now.”
Gasoline futures advanced amid concern that the flooding will disrupt fuel production and distribution. Futures rose 3.1 percent yesterday to $3.3797 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, adding to a 6.1 percent gain on May 9, the biggest since July 2009. The contract dropped 1.2 percent to $3.3385 today. Crude prices slid 0.1 percent to $103.78 a barrel.
The Red River Landing is 63 miles north of Baton Rouge, near where the Louisiana state line moves east from the river. The Morganza floodway is between the landing and Baton Rouge. The Mississippi, the largest river system in the country and the third-largest watershed in the world, drains 41 percent of the continental U.S., according to the Corps.
The opening of the spillway would affect two refineries, according to Jindal’s office. One plant on the river may have capacity cut to 75 percent for two weeks, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources yesterday. Anna Dearmon, the DNR’s communications director, said she couldn’t release the names of the refineries because of security reasons.
Alon USA Energy Inc.’s Krotz Springs refinery will be affected if the spillway is opened, Lisa Vidrine, director of the St. Landry Parish office of emergency preparedness, said in a telephone interview yesterday. Refinery officials said May 9 that they were doing engineering work on the possible building of a levee to protect the refinery, according to Vidrine.
“If the Morganza is not opened and the levees are breached, the downstream destruction would be worse,” Fred Bryan, a professor emeritus of renewable natural resources at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “Once the river, with that cutting capacity and speed, cuts a hole you better get after it because it’s going to erode away the cut very quickly.”
The rising water has interrupted coal shipments to power plants in Tennessee, flooded more than 100,000 acres of Missouri cropland, forced thousands from their homes and prompted the Corps to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway to reduce the river’s force through New Orleans.
On the Mississippi between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, there are 11 refineries with a combined capacity of 2.5 million barrels a day, or 13 percent of U.S. output, according to Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston.
Valero Energy Corp. was forced to reduce operations at its refinery in Memphis to between 80 percent and 85 percent of capacity because of the flooding, according to people familiar with refinery operations.
Flooding limited movement of products in and out of the plant by barge, said the people, who declined to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak for the refinery.
Entergy Corp. expects “several inches” of water in its gas-fueled Baxter Wilson plant north of Vicksburg, based on a forecast crest on May 19, Jill Smith, a company spokeswoman, said yesterday in an interview. Gear and equipment is being moved to the second floor, and crews are sandbagging a low levee that protects the plant, she said.
NuStar Energy LP said it will suspend deep draft vessel operations at its St. James, Louisiana, terminal when the Mississippi River stage reaches 32 feet at Donaldsonville.
The river is forecast to reach that level May 13, Greg Matula, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail yesterday. Barge operations will stop when the river stage reaches 33 feet, which is forecast to happen May 15, according to Matula.
“The current forecast indicates marine activity could be suspended for one to two weeks,” Matula said.
May 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm #5103
Looks like the Mississippi River flooding is compounding and now threatens Louisiana especially New Orleans and the Refineries and Gulf’s Intercoastal Waterway (GIWW) barge shipments. GIWW Oil products, petcoke & coal barge shippments to power plants (already impacted Tenn) may be closed for several weeks at minimum.
Wallstreet Speculators and non-industry oil traders will use it as excuse to spike prices way above fundamental impacts on Supply & Demand (which were already suspect at todays $4/gal). Perhaps if Congress follows Redding’s line thought/action some regulation can finally be made as opposed to useless Democratic dog/pony show of pilloring Major Oil Execs that everyone knows does nothing.
If you haven’t caught up with Rolling Stones Editor-Raibbi’s new article asking why Goldman Sachs Exec’s aren’t up on Fed Charges for lying under oath, since its SOP for even Baseball players lying about taking Steriods & President Bill Clinton. Raibbi is famous for first article catch phrase ” Goldman Sach is Blood Sucking Vampire Squid wrapped around face Humanity, Rentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that looks like money”! The Vampire Squid has now become a cartoon de facto Mascot for Goldman! Turns out it really exist & the image was first used on Standard Oil (Big Oil) to denounce it before it was broken up into 7 sisters (~parent for most today’s US Major Oil Companies).
May 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm #5100
Argus: IC Rail dock flooded, others brace for closures
Washington, 13 May 2011 (Argus) Flooding shut down the IC Rail Marine Terminal in New Orleans earlier this week, forcing owner Canadian National (CN) to declare force majeure on coal export shipments. The rest of the region is waiting to see if the lower Mississippi River will be closed to traffic next week.
To avert a river closure and reduce flooding pressure, the US Army Corps of Engineers is expected to open the Morganza Spillway at Point Coupee, Louisiana, this weekend. The spillway will be opened if the river’s flow at Red River Landing north of Baton Rouge reaches 1.5mn ft/second (42,500 m) threshold, a level the Corps projects will be hit this weekend.
The river flows were running at 1.45mn ft/second earlier today.
The Corps said it would send up to 150,000 ft/second through the spillway to reduce pressure on levees that are nearing their rated engineered capacity. The river’s water level at New Orleans has reached 17ft and is projected to rise to 19.5ft on 23 May, but the Corps wants to reduce the water levels by diverting flows onto spillways.
The Bonnet Carre Spillway is partly opened and sending flows into Lake Pontchartrain, and will be 70pc open by the end of today.
A decision to open the Morganza Spillway has not yet been made a move that would flood homes and farmland in the floodplain and also jeopardize waterway navigation on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway west to as far as New Iberia, barge operators said.
But the Morganza opening could prevent a full closure of the Mississippi River. If water levels in New Orleans reach 18ft, the US Coast Guard has said it may halt traffic on the river to prevent additional stress on levees caused by the displacement of water by shipments. The lowest levees in the region are 20ft.
The situation is kind of unknown because we are waiting on the government to make decisions on spillways, a terminal and vessel operator said. There has been a lot of chatter about potential shutdowns of portions or all of the river depending on river heights and whether the river is rising or falling. We really are just waiting.
The 4mn short ton/yr IC Rail terminal is located upstream from New Orleans in Convent, Louisiana, putting it on shoreline affected by the swelling Mississippi River before the region’s two other coal export terminals further south in Davant.
Rail operations continue, but there can be no loading or unloading of vessels, said CN spokesman Patrick Waldron. The dock is flooded so the terminal will have to monitor water levels and wait for the river to recede, he said. CN’s network has flooding in Illinois, Tennessee and Louisiana, but its core traffic is still able to move north and south by using alternate routes, he said.
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May 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm #5099
ExxonMobil shuts crude pipelines ahead of flooding
Houston, 13 May 2011 (XOM website News) Oil major ExxonMobil’s US pipeline subsidiary shut three crude pipeline segments near its 500,000 b/d Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refinery as a precautionary measure before floodwaters inundate the lower Mississippi river watershed, a spokeswoman said.
The pipeline operator shut two 12-inch pipeline segments on its North Line system, north of Baton Rouge and a 16-inch pipeline on the Southwest Line system west of Anchorage, spokeswoman Patty Errico said. The flow capacities were not immediately available.
We are purging oil from these systems and backfilling with fresh water in areas that may be affected by high water, and we have ceased deliveries to destinations on the lines north and west of Anchorage, she said.
The pipeline segments will be shut until floodwaters subside and the company can safely inspect their integrity, she said.
Errico said the company continues normal operations at its other assets in Louisiana.
Besides ExxonMobil’s facility at Baton Rouge, other refineries connected to the shut pipelines include Alon USA’s 83,000 b/d Krotz Springs refinery, Calumet’s 58,000 b/d Shreveport refinery and Lion Oil’s 70,000 b/d El Dorado, Arkansas, according to ExxonMobil’s website.
Baton Rouge refinery spokeswoman Stephanie Cargile would not comment on operations at the facility.
May 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm #5097
Flood wreaks havoc with Mississippi economy
By Aaron Smith, staff writer @CNNMoney May 13, 2011: 12:58 PM ET
A tractor is submerged in flood water at a grain elevator in Caruthersville, Missouri.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The massive flood churning its way down the Mississippi River will go down in history for its catastrophic, multi-billion dollar impact on the Midwestern economy, says an insurers’ research group.
The flood is causing a profound disruption to “the economic engine that is the Mississippi River,” said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, an insurer-supported research group. “The Mississippi River flows with just as much money as it does water, even at this stage of modern transport,” he said.
The flood waters of the Mississippi have already crested in Memphis and are currently heading downstream for New Orleans. Downtown Memphis remained high and dry, partly through extensive efforts to shore up the locks along the bank, allowing both the Memphis in May International Festival and a National Basketball Association game to continue unabated.
But even still, hundreds of homes and businesses remained in the Memphis flood zone.
Other city centers have been spared, partly because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made tough decisions to save the urban centers by diverting water into less populated farmland, flooding the crops and causing extensive agricultural damage.
By the time it’s all over, thousands of homes and business are likely to be flooded, said Hartwig.
Flooded homes and farms are the most obvious casualties of the overflowing Mississippi. But the impact to commerce along the river is just as important, he said. He said that barges will be unable to ship raw materials down the river. This could directly impact farmers, who will be unable to ship grain down the river, increasing the risk of spoilage.
0:00 / 1:58 A billion dollar path of destruction <Picture/Viedo Flood destruction>
In this way, even companies that remain safe from flood waters are sometimes impacted by transportation issues created by the flood. In Memphis, the flood prevented barges from accessing Valero’s riverside refinery, according to company spokesman Bill Day.
Also in Memphis, the flood blocked the ability of the America Yeast Corp. to use 18-wheelers to bring in and ship out raw materials, according to Chief Executive Gary Edwards.
Storm losses could reach $5 billion
This year was a relatively calm one in the U.S. for natural disasters until April, when the South and the Midwest were lashed by three separate storm systems, each of them causing more than $1 billion worth of damage, according to Aon Corp., a risk management service company.
The most recent of these storms brought with it 178 tornadoes and killed at least 300 people, many of them in Alabama. Altogether, the three storm systems caused $4 billion worth of damage, according to Aon.
Hartwig said it was too early to provide a damage estimate on the flood.
“It’s too soon yet,” he said. “It’s not over.”
Story/Picture link @ http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/13/news/economy/flood_mississippi/index.htm?section=money_latest
May 15, 2011 at 3:36 pm #5096
Flood info around destruction/insurance damage @ +$5Billon level.
Mentioned is damage to Grain & Storage along river but not said is ~death blow to lot ETOH producers who were already facing a +50% increase corn price at time reduced subsidies and demand (pushback among car mfg’s and drivers due ETOH damage to carbureators/low octane). The elevated ETOH levels already had little chance meeting higher government levels set for this year without imports (which defeats purpose of “renuable” fuel source) and growing unprofitability/bankruptcy of ETOH producers facing new refining capacity online and import pressures from large new worldscale refiners in Asia/MidEast.
Along those lines is fact most petcoke, coal, cement & fertilizer plants and their storage terminals are likely underwater like the farmers tractor in picture – erasing many months of production that will not be made up during spring/summer peak manufacturing utilization/production period this year.
So…..perhaps speculation may end up mirroring reality thru de facto impacts?
<If picture damage / submerged tractor does not post go to link at end article>
May 16, 2011 at 9:56 am #5085
US bid to save Louisiana cities from flooding
AFP May 15, 2011, 4:42 pm
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – US Army engineers began opening a major Louisiana floodgate to ease pressure from the swollen Mississippi River, in a bid to save cities by sacrificing small towns and farmland that now face historic flooding.
The US Army Corps of Engineers opened a single bay at the key Morganza Spillway to allow a relatively small amount of the river through, avoiding what Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal described as a “wall of water” slamming thousands of homes and farmland in the state’s rural south.
The effort, intended to spare the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, marked the first time the spillway has been opened since 1973, and only the second time in the structure’s almost 60-year history. “This is certainly going to be a marathon and not a sprint,” Major General Michael Walsh told a press conference earlier Saturday before the spillway was opened.
Opening the Morganza Spillway completely would divert some 600,000 cubic feet of water every second — about six times the daytime volume of Niagara Falls. But in order to prevent a massive wave from being unleashed, the one bay opened Saturday was allowing out 10,000 cubic feet per second. One or two more bays were set to be opened Sunday.
The Bonnet Carre spillway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans was opened to full capacity Saturday, officials said meanwhile, diverting 250,000 cubic feet per second into Lake Pontchartrain. Jindal said officials expected around three million acres (1.2 million hectares) to be flooded by the diversion into the Gulf of Mexico. Some 25,000 residents were set to be affected by the controlled flood.
The 20-foot (six-meter) levees protecting New Orleans are now holding back the river at 17 feet, considered a flood stage. If the Morganza Spillway was not open, river levels were predicted to reach 19.5 feet.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he was aware of the tremendous sacrifices residents of rural communities were making to save more populous areas of the state. “We believe the city of New Orleans is going to be safe,” he said, but added: “This is a very tragic situation, really, for everybody in America and, of course, the people that live along the Atchafalaya basin, as well in Morgan City. So our hearts go out to them.
“It doesn’t make us feel any good that (by) protecting New Orleans, other folks are going to get hurt.” Cindy Prejean of Gibson, Louisiana, some 70 miles (112 kilometers) southwest of New Orleans, said she was expecting five feet (1.5 meters) of water at her house. “What gives them the right to flood us? I understand it, but there are so many communities, and so many farmers and so many businesses,” she told AFP.
“Everybody pray for us,” she asked.
According to flood projections, a flood as high as 15 feet (4.5 meters) was to bear down on some communities at its height after the spillway is opened. So far, the major New Orleans port is continuing normal operations, while oil and gas companies have about 2,200 wells in the region at risk of flooding.
The trigger for the opening was when 1.5 million cubic feet (42,00 cubic meters) of water per second was flowing down the Mississippi at Red River Landing — a point reached on Friday. With the Morganza Spillway now partially opened, Colonel Ed Fleming, commander of the Army Corps’ New Orleans district, said it would take about three days for the flood to reach Morgan City, further south in the floodzone.
The rising river, swollen by heavy rains last month and the melting of a thick winter snow pack, has been set to eclipse the high water records set in the epochal floods of 1927.
Near its height, the Mississippi town of Vicksburg was expected to see a 57.5-foot (17.5-meter) crest on May 19, topping the 56.2-foot historic crest set 84 years ago this month, according to National Weather Service.
The Mississippi is the third-longest river in North America and its watershed is the fourth-largest in the world.
The worst floods to hit the central US in more than 70 years have already swallowed up thousands of homes, farms and roads in Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, and the mighty river is expected to remain above flood stage along hundreds of miles (kilometers) for many days.
The American Red Cross (ARC) has responded to back-to-back disasters over the past two months, with tornadoes, severe storms and wildfires impacting the region alongside the floods. The events have prompted the ARC to launch 23 separate relief operations backed by over 7,700 relief workers in 18 US states.
May 16, 2011 at 9:58 am #5084
Here is another update AFP article below with news, pictures and charts on Miss Flood status.
<Some other news/photos/viedos with great details & maps NOLA website @ http://topics.nola.com/tag/corps-of-engineers/index.html and http://photos.nola.com/tpphotos/2011/05/corps_flood_scenarioszip_2.html >
One other reasons for all spillway openings to control flood pressures/height is an issue covered by Army Core Engineers = potential for Lower Mississippi River to jump current river control system in these +40 year scale floods when system becomes overwhelmed. (see exhert below from ACE / news following their charts data)
Risk of major course change in the Lower Mississippi River :The Old River Control Structure in northern Louisiana may be threatened by the rising waters, and opening of the Morganza Spillway nearby is being considered to lower the river level and flow in this area and downriver. Failure of either of these structures might allow the Mississippi to divert its main channel to the Atchafalaya Basin and the Atchafalaya River, developing a new delta south of Morgan City in southern Louisiana, and greatly reducing water flow to its present channel through Baton Rouge and New Orleans to its current delta in southeastern Louisiana. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground noted that failure of the Old River Control Structure “would be a serious blow to the U.S. economy, and the great Mississippi flood of 2011 will give [this structure] its most severe test ever.” Some geologists have observed that the lower Mississippi may chart a new course to the sea even if the dam and spillway facilities remain intact, because the possibility for course change exists in the area north of the facilities. Army Corps of Engineers geologist Fred Smith once stated, “The Mississippi wants to go west. 1973 was a forty-year flood. The big one lies out there somewhere-when the structures can’t release all the floodwaters and the levee is going to have to give way. That is when the river’s going to jump its banks and try to break through.”
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