A second hole has been blown in the Birds Point-New Madrid levee.

This photo shows part of the second blast area in the lower section of the Birds Point New Madrid Floodway operation. (Photo courtesy Army Corps of Engineers.)

Thousands of gallons of water are pouring through a large hole that was blown out about 10 p.m. last night, flooding tens of thousands of acres of southeast Missouri farmland. The Corps of engineers blasted a hole in the levee about 10 o-clock last night to relieve flooding at Cairo, Ill. Within hours,  the flood crest at Cairo had dropped by more than a foot. The Corps now expects it to fall by four feet by tonight. The hole blasted this afternoon is south of the one blown last night.

About 100 farm homes are going to be flooded. Southeast Missouri Congress woman Jo Ann Emerson says she’s been told by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilasck that farmers would be covered for their losses with insurance. 

There was to have been a second breech in the levee early this morning, downstream near New Madrid, but the Corps of Engineers had to cancel those blasts because of bad weather.

The opening at New Madrid is supposed to let the flood waters flow back into the river channel below Cairo.

Emerson says she’s doing everything she can at the federal level to mitigate flood damage and get the Corps to repair the levee as soon as possible, pointing to the lengthy delays that came after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. She doesn’t want that to happen in Missouri.