How the Coast Guard keeps an eye on Mississippi River


WDSU METEOROLOGIST DAMON SINGLETON WENT UP WITH THEM ON HOW THEY KEEP EVERYTHING IN CHEC>>WHEN YOU’RE CROSSING THE CRESCENT CITY CONNECTION OR ANY OTHER BRIDGE OVER THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER YOU GET ONE , PERSPECTIVE ON HOW HIGH THE RIVER IS BUT WHEN YOU’RE IN A COAST GUARD HELICOPTER 400 FEET ABOVE THE RIVER, THE PERSPECTIVE IS A WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT. THE VIEW FROM THIS COAST GUARD ASSET PROVIDES A SOMEWHAT FRIGHTENING ASPECT OF HOW CLOSE THE RIVER IS TO THE TOP OF THE LEVEE AND HOW MANY COMMUNITIES COULD POTENTIALLY BE IMPACTED. KEEPING TRACK OF THE RIVER LEVEL IS ONE JOB OF THE COAST GUARD BUT JUST THIS MORNING THEY ALSO , RESPONDED TO A MEDICAL EMERGENCY IN VENICE. THEY FLEW OVER TWO AREAS WHERE OIL WAS REPORTED IN THE WATER AND OTHERWISE CONDUCTED THE SAME PATROLS OF THE RIVER THAT IT CARRIES OUT DAILY FROM THE AIR. LCDR CORBIN IS THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER.>>WE SERVE 26 DIFFERENT STATES AND THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR MARITIME COMMERCE, SO WE PATROL THE SECURITY OF THE RIVER AS WELL AS GIVE INFORMATION FOR THE CAPTAIN OF THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS.>>THESE COAST GUARD HELICOPTERS ENSURE SAFE NAVIGATION PRACTICES, PROVIDE FOR THE SECURITY OF THE RIVER AND REPORT HAZARDS TO NAVIGATION INCLUDING ONE HAZARD THE COAST GUARD VESSEL TRAFFIC CENTER SAYS HAPPENS TOO OFTEN WITH BARGES.>>THESE BARGES ARE ALL UP AND DOWN THE RIVER. THEY ARE TIED TOGETHER AND TIED TO A FIXED POINT, AND WHEN THE VOLUME OF WATER INCREASES, WHEN THE SPEED OF THE RIVER INCREASES THE PRESSURE AGAINST THOSE LINES COULD CAUSE THEM TO PART AND WHAT YOU END UP WITH IS BARGES FLOATING FREELY DOWN THE RIVER CREATING AN EVEN GREATER HAZARD , TO NAVIGATION.>>FORTUNATELY THE COAST GUARD AND ITS PARTNERS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO RESPOND QUICKLY TO ALL INCIDENTS OCCURING AS A RESULT OF THE INCREASED CURRENT AND BEEN ABLE TO KEEP THIS SECTION OF THE RIVER OPEN. UPSTREAM, ESPECIALLY IN PARTS OF MISSOURI AND ILLINOIS THEY HAVEN’T BEEN AS LUCKY.>>THE FLOODING UPSTREAM BECAUSE OF THE CURRENT THEY HAD TO CLOSE , SECTIONS OF THE RIVER FOR PORTIONS OF TIME AND THERE ARE HUGE IMPACTS ECONOMICALLY. SO OUR GOAL IS TO, AS LONG AS IT’S SAFE, IS TO KEEP THE MARITIME COMMERCE FLOWING.>>THE COAST GUARD FLIES THE ARMY CORPS, THE PRIMARY FLOOD ENGINEERS, THE COAST GUARD SECTOR MARITIME SAFETY EXPERTS THAT ARE LOOKING AT SHORE SIDE INFRASTRUCTURE AND PORT FACILITIES. THEY MAKE SURE THERE IS NO DISCHARGE OF POLLUTION AND KEEP TRACK OF ANY AREAS THEY CONSIDER TO BE AT RISK. REPORTING FROM 400 FEET ABOVE THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER, DAMON

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