NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As the Mississippi River continues to rise, residents along the bank await word on whether the Army Corps of Engineers will open the Morganza spillway to relieve pressure on the levees downstream that protect the more densely populated Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has warned the 25,000 residents in the spillway's path that they will probably have to leave their homes by this weekend, as the corps mulls its final decision.
If the spillway isn't opened, New Orleans could face floods and levee breaks that could potentially cause greater damage than Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans news outlet Times-Picayune reported.
The accumulation of heavy rain over the past few weeks and snowmelt along the upper Mississippi have caused record breaking upstream flooding and inundated low-lying towns and farmland throughout Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas.High river waters have caused the rivers and creeks that feed into the Mississippi to overflow, forcing many to seek higher ground. As the largest river in North America continues to swell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continue to monitor the levee systems along the river, Reuters reported. "We're continuing to watch and wait and monitor the situation," Corps spokesman Jim Pogue said. "Everything is performing as we had hoped." While Louisiana monitors the river's volume, Mississippi continues to watch the water creep across the historic Delta region. "There's no reason for anybody to lose their life in this," Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Thursday at a press conference in Greenville. "We've had days and days of warning and the crest isn't even here yet." Click through the following photo slideshow to see the devastation caused by the overflowing Mississippi River.