The spillway structure, built after the deadly 1927 flood and most recently utilized in 2011, is made up of 350 bays that are closed off by 7,000 wooden pins. Ricky Boyett, public affairs chief at the Corps district, said about 20 bays a day can be removed, and it’s expected that all of the bays will need to be opened to accommodate the floodwaters.The river is high, y'all. And it's disturbingly high for this time of year. So much for "normal weather."
The purpose of diverting water into the lake is to keep a relatively steady 1.25 million cfs of river flow through New Orleans, which roughly works out to keeping the water at 17 feet. The levees in downtown New Orleans protect up to 20 feet.
Although designed to be able to pass 250,000 cfs of water, the spillway and receiving area can handle more, said Boyett.
“In 2011, we put 300,000 cfs through to keep the water where we wanted,” he said.