Louisiana Floods Free Crawfish

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An iconic food of the Big Easy has been swimming away in the flooding which continued in Louisiana over the weekend as another storm system moved through the area.

“Crawfish literally wash out of fields,” Commissioner of Agriculture, Mike Strain said in the Town Talk. “And those who don’t escape their confines could find not-so-friendly living conditions in the near future.”

Flooding can drown plants that crawfish feed upon. The dead plants sink and decay, which sucks oxygen out of the water, suffocating the crustaceans, which are also known as crayfish or crawdads.

Louisana’s governor declared a state of emergency last Thursday. The National Weather Service issued multiple flood warning for the southeast of the state. At least three tornadoes also touched down in the region.

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The good news is the heavy rains that Louisiana experienced have now lifted the state out of drought.

But the deluge in Louisiana will do nothing to relieve the problems of states further north on the Mississippi. Much of the Midwest, West and Great Plains regions remain parched, as they have been since last year.

NOAA forecasts that the drought will persist at least until spring for most of the United States west of the Mississippi. NOAA’s seasonal drought outlook covers until April 1.

Persistent drought afflicts much of the region feeding water into the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, leading to low water levels. River shipping becomes more difficult the lower the rivers drop. The Mississippi may be closed to barge traffic in the near future, despite efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) that have managed to buy time. USACE’s blasting of rocks in the main river channel will probably allow the river to remain open for the rest of January. However, the fate of river shipping in February is uncertain.

IMAGES:

Crawfish, Procambarus clarkii, (Mike Murphy, Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. Drought Outlook for Jan.1 through March 31, 2013 (NOAA)

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