Krotz Springs, Louisiana (CNN) — Residents of towns along the swollen Mississippi River on Sunday packed up their valuables and made last-ditch efforts to place sandbags and makeshift levees outside their homes, trying to protect themselves and their homes from rising waters.
“I have never experienced anything like this in my life,” said Brett Ansley, 24, as he was hitching up his trailer home in Krotz Springs, Louisiana, to move it to higher ground. “It’s crazy. It’s unreal.”
These efforts occurred as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened two additional gates Sunday morning on the Morganza spillway, located about 115 miles northwest of New Orleans. This is after opening the first two bays the previous day.
The plan is to let out water from as many as one-fourth of the spillway’s 125 bays to spare the Louisiana cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans from severe flooding, Corps spokesman Ricky Boyett has said. But it maystill affect nearly 4,000 people who live along the river, as it sends water toward homes and farmland in the Atchafalaya Basin, according to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
“At this time, we are currently monitoring the river, but it is too early to know if additional gates will be opened today,” Boyett wrote in an e-mail to CNN.
Some of the spillway’s gates will likely be open for weeks, and it’ll be at least that long before the river falls safely below flood stage and those who have evacuated can safely return, said Col. Ed Fleming, the Corps’ New Orleans district commander.