Hurricane Ida causes Mississippi River to flow in reverse

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A man bikes along the Mississippi River near the French Quarter as the sun rises and the early effects of Hurricane Ida are felt, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans, La. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Hurricane Ida caused the Mississippi River to reverse course Sunday as it flowed through Belle Chasse, Louisiana.

The storm made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane. Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), said the river flowed upstream as storm surge from Ida pushed inland.

Graphics from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) showed the discharge was at -10,700 cubic feet per second at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

USGS supervising hydrologist Scott Perrien told CNN that the reversal is “extremely uncommon.”

“I remember, offhand, that there was some flow reversal of the Mississippi River during Hurricane Katrina, but it is extremely uncommon,” he said.

According to Perrien, the river level rose about seven feet at USGS gauge in Belle Chasse because of storm surge.

In a Sunday evening advisory, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Ida was moving northwest at 10 miles per hour. Rainfall amounts were expected to be between 10 to 18 inches with isolated maximum levels possibly reaching 24 inches of rain across southeast Louisiana into southern Mississippi, according to the NHC.

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