Mississippi River flows in reverse as Hurricane Ida pushes inland

Tracking the Tropics

A man bikes along the Mississippi River near the French Quarter as the sun rises and the early effects of Hurricane Ida are felt, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans, La. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi River at Belle Chasse, Louisiana, reversed course on Sunday, August 29, due to Hurricane Ida.

The storm made landfall in shortly after noon on Sunday near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, as a category 4 hurricane.

Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), said the river flowed upstream as storm surge from Ida pushed inland.

Graphics from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) showed the discharge was at -10,700 cubic feet per second at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

USGS supervising hydrologist Scott Perrien told CNN that the reversal is “extremely uncommon.”

“I remember, offhand, that there was some flow reversal of the Mississippi River during Hurricane Katrina, but it is extremely uncommon,” he stated.

According to Perrien, the river level rose about seven feet because of the storm surge at the USGS gauge, which is located in Belle Chasse.

In its latest advisory at 5 p.m., the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Ida is moving northwest at 10 miles per hour and has reached maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

Rainfall amounts are expected to be between 10 to 18 inches with isolated maximum levels possibly reaching 24 inches of rain across southeast Louisiana into southern Mississippi, according to the NHC.

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