October 26, 2019 Meeting

The second meeting of the 2019-2020 year took place at the Mississippi River Basin Model in Jackson and was a joint meeting with the East Mississippi Chapter of the NWA and AMS.

Meeting Minutes

Call to Order
The second meeting of the 2019-2020 AMS/NWA chapter occurred on October 26, 2019 at Buddy Butts park to view the Mississippi River Basin model. This was a joint meeting with the East Mississippi AMS/NWA chapter from Mississippi State University. This meeting was held at 3:30pm given the need to view the model in the daylight.

Recording Secretary Joanne Culin took note of the number present. In total, there were 48 attendees with 8 being from the Central Mississippi AMS/NWA Chapter.

Minutes Approval
Given the joint meeting and special field trip, minutes were not summarized.

New Business
Given the extra guests and field trip, business was not conducted. Prior to the meeting, officer nominations and voting was held via Google forms. The results were not announced at the meeting. The amount in the treasury was $352.29 as of the start of the meeting. Two members paid up on dues and the total at the end of the meeting was $392.29.

Treasurer David Cox started the meeting by discussing some of the history of the location of the model. He stated that it was the site of a former Prisoner of War camp from World War II and stated that his grandfather was stationed there. He showed a few relics of this before Sarah McEwen, President of the Friends of the Mississippi River Basin Model and a water resource manager, took over the tour. She mentioned that the model consisted of 60 acres of concrete and is 240 acres inside the fence line. It is the largest in the world and that the model at LSU may be the most cutting edge since it is putting sedimentation in the model. In 1927, the Mississippi River flooded and caused tremendous damage and loss of life. Because of this, the 1928 Flood Control Act was put in place and in this, it was desired to have a full Mississippi River basin model. With this model, it was used by the Army Corps of Engineers to model elevations when the water is high, anticipate and test design theories(dams, levees, etc.). In 1942, they established the model but with World War II beginning, there was no manpower. This is when Camp Clinton came into play as it was free labor to construct the model. Camp Clinton was a POW camp that housed German soldiers. In 1943, construction started and they even diverted a creek that used to flow through that region in order to build it. POWs did all of the work to remove thousands of cubic feet of dirt and constructed the underground piping systems. There are more than 15,000 miles of underground piping systems that control water into and out of the model. Some of these brick piping systems were nearly tall enough to walk through and all constructed by hand by the POWs.
In 1946, the POWs left and civilians came in to construct all of the panels by hand. The model was constructed upstream to downstream so that they could conduct tests on it as it was being put together. Model water elevations were calibrated with existing gage sites and calibrated to a tenth of a foot. In order to properly simulate flow, they used metal mesh to represent vegetation and aerial photos were taken to see what vegetation was along the river and where. There had been issues with foxes getting caught in the metal mesh and moving it and messing up the depiction of vegetation.

The Corps put cylinders with probes attached at the same gage locations as in real life(i.e. Natchez, Greenville, etc.) to replicate reality. This information was sent electronically to the control house, where graphs and charts were printed out and reviewed. From this, they developed stage hydrographs and other representative charts. This model operated from 1960 to 1966 with 72 simulations under the guidance of the Army Corps of Engineers. This was the minimum number of simulations that needed to be run and anything beyond this was conducted by the district requesting a simulation. The last run came in 1993 by the Memphis district on the New Madrid floodway.

Jacques Cousteau even visited the USACE in Vicksburg and the Mississippi River Flood Basin Model in Clinton, and filmed a documentary on it.

The group walked the length of the model from the Gulf of Mexico up to Illinois. Then, they cut back to the beginning via the Ohio River confluence with the Mississippi River.

The meeting concluded once everyone reconvened at the start of the tour, roughly around 5:00pm. The MSU students and some chapter members proceeded to the NWS office for a tour, otherwise the meeting was adjourned.

Minutes were submitted by Joanne Culin, Recording Secretary.

October 26, 2019 Meeting

Members of the chapter try their hand at using the green screen.

For more pictures from this meeting, click here.