(Reuters) -- Hundreds gathered at St. Charles Parish in Louisiana to watch the rare opening of the Bonnet Care Spillway on Sunday (January 10).
The Army Corp of Engineers opened 20 bays of the spillway to reduce the level of the Mississippi River in New Orleans, sending hundreds of thousands of gallons of water towards Lake Pontchartrain.
%shareLinks-quote="It was only the third time in eight years the spillway was opened." type="spreadWord"%
See more from the scene:
Corps officials said the procedure was to prevent the flow of water in New Orleans from exceeding 1.25 million cubic feet per second.
Local media said the official flood level for New Orleans is 17 feet and that the river was expected to reach 16.4 feet on Sunday morning, citing the National Weather Service's Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center.