Floodgate opens again, letting Mississippi Delta flood drain

Published 11:59 am Friday, June 21, 2019

(AP) — A floodgate in Mississippi has reopened as the Mississippi River falls, allowing a months-long flood in parts of the Mississippi Delta to begin draining.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it opened the Steele Bayou floodgate north of Vicksburg on Thursday.

The gate had been closed since June 7. Before that, it was closed from Feb. 15 to April 1 and from May 11 to May 23. It protects from even worse flooding by the swollen Mississippi River.

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When the gate is closed, water piles up inside a levee system with nowhere to go. A planned pumping station to drain the region was vetoed as harmful to wetlands.

Hundreds of homes are flooded and many farmers can’t plant crops on more than 200,000 acres (80,000 hectares) of flooded land.