Louisiana residents are being warned today: The Army Corps of Engineers will open the Morganza spillway along the Mississippi River by Sunday, flooding millions of acres of rural farmland and sparing big cities like Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
"This is a historic amount of water," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said.
"Some people may think, 'Well, the house is not underwater yet,'" Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said. "But they don't know the road is closed, may become closed. So if in doubt, people should get out. We want people to evacuated, not have to be rescued."
As much as 25 feet of water will spill out over 100 miles, displacing 2,500 people. In addition, 22,500 people and 11,000 structures in the backwater areas could be flooded.
If the gates remained closed and the levees along the Mississippi failed, Baton Rouge and New Orleans could both be flooded -- leaving a disaster worse than Katrina.
The bigger problem (well, for the people who aren't in Louisiana anyway) is that there are a number of major oil refineries along the river from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. If the Morganza spillway isn't enough to stop the flooding, then here in the Midwest, gas prices will quickly end up north of $5, if not $6 or more a gallon. As it is, there are plenty of smaller refineries in the area south of Baton Rouge, as well as thousands of people and Morgan City, Louisiana.
And all that water is heading right down their streets. It's being done to spare Baton Rouge and NOLA. But the reality is this is a 100-year plus flood, folks. We're talking 25 feet of water into a pair of cities that are below sea level. If the levees fail anywhere on the east bank of the main river, it's going to make Katrina's flooding look like a pool party in comparison.
Next week is going to be bad, folks. If you thought the flooding so far was gruesome, just wait a few days.