Louisiana—faced with the choice of flooding farmland or risking major floods in New Orleans and Baton Rouge—is preparing to open a relief valve and swamp large areas of farmland in Cajun country. The Morganza spillway is about to be opened for the first time in 38 years and just the second time in its history, releasing a torrent of water expected to gradually submerge an area the size of Connecticut under up to 25 feet of water, the AP reports.
Army engineers plan to conduct a slow opening of the spillway to take the pressure off levees protecting cities and industrial areas downstream. Some 2,500 people are in the direct path of the spillway and around 22,500 others will be threatened by the rising water, reports the New York Times. Gov. Bobby Jindal has urged people remaining in these areas to evacuate. "Now's the time for our people to execute their plans," he said. "That water's coming." (Read more Morganza Spillway stories.)