Mississippi River pilots are on high alert as spring rains push the river to near flood stage heights.

It's not unusual for the mighty Mississippi to swell to flood heights this time of year as rainfall upriver, in places like Missouri and the Ohio Valley, feed the Mississippi's growth. On top of that recent rains in the Mississippi Valley are gorging the river.

As of Tuesday, June 6th, the river has risen to 15.9 feet above sea level. Official flood stage is 17 feet for New Orleans.  The Corps doesn’t expect it will need to open the Bonnet Carre spillway to flush floodwaters, but that outlook could change depending on weather conditions so pilots are on high alert until further notice.  During the high water event in January 2016, the spillway marked its earliest opening as levels were projected to break 17 feet which is flood stage at the New Orleans gauge.