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Posted 12/6/2011

Release no. 11-37


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MEMPHIS, Tenn., DEC. 6, 2011 – Based on National Weather Service forecasts of unseasonably high river levels and more to come, Maj. Gen. John Peabody, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi Valley Division, has directed an orderly shutdown of the Birds Point-New Madrid project area.

Further, he has ordered the installation of a Hesco Barrier at the upper crevasse to temporarily bring the system to a 55 ft level of protection (on Cairo gage) for the BPNM Floodway. Construction in this region usually stops between December and May due to adverse weather conditions. The Corps' Memphis District projects construction of this interim measure will take approximately 10 good weather days to complete and work will begin in 48 hours when weather and ground conditions improve. A HESCO bastion is a large collapsible wire mesh container with heavy duty fabric liners filled with sand. The HESCO bastions and related work can be done around the clock and are not as dependent upon favorable weather conditions.

“Weather conditions continue to hamper our ability to achieve our revised target of 55 feet using normal levee construction techniques,” Col. Vernie Reichling, commander of the Corps’ Memphis District said. “The orderly shutdown will commence using supplies and equipment that have been prepositioned which will allow us to reach a 55-foot level of protection with temporary construction methods.”

Citizens in the area are urged to stay in touch with their local authorities, and closely monitor river forecasts from the National Weather Service and additional information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They should be prepared to take whatever measures they believe are necessary to safeguard their lives and property.

“The Corps’ number one priority is and remains public safety,” Col. Reichling said.