Feds: 26 Levees Could Overflow If Sandbags Fail

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal government predicts that 26 levees could potentially overflow along the Mississippi River if the weather forecast is on the mark and a massive sandbagging effort fails to raise the level of the levees, according to a map obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

Officials are placing millions of sandbags on top of the levees along the river in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri to prevent overflowing. There is no way to predict whether these levees will break, said Ron Fournier, a spokesman with the Army Corps of Engineers in Iowa. "That's a crystal ball that nobody has," he told the AP.

The levees in New Orleans broke during Hurricane Katrina, causing catastrophic flooding.

Record-breaking storms and flooding across six states over the past week have forced thousands of people to evacuate and seek shelter and have caused more than 25,000 power outages across the Midwest, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Army Corps of Engineers looks at the latest weather forecasts and creates "battle maps" for levee engineers that show how many levees could overflow without what Fournier calls a "big flood fight effort." The flood fight entails placing millions of sandbags on top of the levees to make them higher in order to prevent overflowing.

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