For instance, what does 1.5 million cubic feet of water per second really mean?
Or 114,000 cfs, for that matter?
The former is what the Corps of Engineers said was flowing in the Mississippi River near the Morganza Spillway when the first of the 125 floodgates was opened.
The second number is how much water was flowing into the spillway with 16 gates open.
Let’s quantify that: Imagine a cube 12 inches on each side. It would hold about 6 gallons of water and weigh about 60 pounds.
A flow of 1.5 million of those cubes a second is 9 million gallons a second. The weight of that water is about 54 million pounds.
A flow of 114,000 cfs is 684,000 gallons surging into the spillway every second, 4.1 million every minute, 246 million gallons an hour.
That flow would fill the Superdome in less than 15 minutes, the math wizards note.
A normal tanker trailer holds about 9,000 gallons, a railroad tanker 34,000 gallons.
A hour’s flow through 16 gates would fill a little more than 27,000 tanker trailers or about 7,500 railroad tankers. That, by even Casey Jones’ standard, is a really big train.
Through May 20, 400,000 sandbags had been distributed.
The effort to protect Krotz Springs against water slipping around the levee had used 29,000 cubic yards of dirt.
How much dirt is that?
Enough to cover a football field 13.6 feet high.
Herds of deer numbering 10 to 15 per group trying to cross U.S. 190 and other wildlife issues have required 205 game agents with 103 ATVs and two amphibious planes.
Eight bears and numerous alligators and wild turkeys have fled the spillway.
Agencies have dispensed 23,000 Meals Ready to Eat (MRE).
Editor Jim Butler can be reached at email@example.com.