MORGANZA, Louisiana (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water from a spillway along the rising Mississippi River in Louisiana, diverting water into the countryside in hopes of avoiding a potentially bigger disaster in heavily populated areas downstream.
A gate at the Morganza spillway was raised Saturday afternoon for the first time in 38 years. The water came out slowly at first, then began gushing like a waterfall.
About 3,000 square miles (7,770 square kilometers) of land known for small farms and fish camps could wind up under as much as 25 feet (7.5 meters) of water.
However, officials say the move will ease pressure on levees protecting New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and oil refineries and chemical plants downstream.
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