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The Great Mississippi and Missouri
Missouri
Rivers Flood
Flood
of 1993 (or "Great Flood
Flood
of 1993") occurred in the American Midwest, along the Mississippi and Missouri
Missouri
rivers and their tributaries, from April to October 1993. The flood was among the most costly and devastating to ever occur in the United States, with $15 billion in damages. The hydrographic basin affected over around 745 miles (1,199 km) in length and 435 miles (700 km) in width, totaling about 320,000 square miles (830,000 km2).[2] Within this zone, the flooded area totaled around 30,000 square miles (78,000 km2)[3] and was the worst such U.S. disaster since the Great Mississippi Flood
Flood
of 1927, as measured by duration, area inundated, persons displaced, crop and property damage, and number of record river levels. In some categories, the 1993 flood even surpassed the 1927 flood, at the time the largest flood ever recorded on the Mississippi.

Contents

1 Causes and progression

1.1 May 1.2 June 1.3 July 1.4 August

2 Costs and damage 3 Comparison with other colossal floods in Kansas
Kansas
City 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Causes and progression[edit]

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Above average rainfall and below average temperatures beginning in the summer of 1993 resulted in above-normal soil moisture and reservoir levels in the Missouri
Missouri
and Upper Mississippi River
Mississippi River
basins. This weather pattern persisted throughout the following autumn. During the winter of 1992–93, the region experienced heavy snowfall. These conditions were followed by persistent spring weather patterns that produced storms over the same locations. Soils across much of the affected area were saturated by June 1, with additional rainfall all running off into streams and rivers, instead of soaking into the ground.[2] These wet-weather conditions contrasted sharply with the droughts and heat waves experienced in the southeastern United States. Storms, persistent and repetitive in nature during the late spring and summer, bombarded the Upper Midwest
Midwest
with voluminous rainfall. Portions of east-central Iowa
Iowa
received as much as 48 inches (120 cm) of rain between April 1 and August 31, 1993, and many areas across the central-northern plains had precipitation 400–750% above normal.[2] In the St. Louis
St. Louis
National Weather Service
National Weather Service
(NWS) forecast area encompassing eastern Missouri
Missouri
and southwest Illinois, 36 forecast points rose above flood stage, and 20 river-stage records were broken. The 1993 flood broke record river levels set during the 1973 Mississippi and the 1951 Missouri
Missouri
River floods. Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol
crews from 21 states served more than 5,000 meals to flood victims and volunteers, and their pilots logged more than 1,500 hours in the air inspecting utility lines and pipelines.[4] Over 1,000 flood warnings and statements, five times the normal, were issued to notify the public and need-to-know officials of river levels. In such places as St. Louis, river levels were nearly 20 feet (6 m) above flood stage, the highest ever recorded there in 228 years.[5] The 52-foot (16 m)-high St. Louis
St. Louis
Floodwall, built to handle the volume of the 1844 flood, was able to keep the 1993 flood out with just over two feet (0.6 m) to spare.[6] This floodwall was built in the 1960s, to great controversy, out of interlocking prefabricated concrete blocks. Had it been breached, the whole of downtown St. Louis would have been submerged. Emergency officials estimated that nearly all of the 700 privately built agricultural levees were overtopped or destroyed along the Missouri
Missouri
River. Navigation on the Mississippi and Missouri
Missouri
River had been closed since early July resulting in a loss of $2 million (1993) per day in commerce. An Illinois
Illinois
man, James Scott, 23 at the time, was officially convicted for "intentionally causing a catastrophe" and sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in causing some of the flooding across the river from Quincy, Illinois. In an attempt to strand his wife on the other side of the river so he could continue partying, Scott removed several sandbags from a levee holding back the water. The breach flooded 14,000 acres (57 km²) of farmland, destroyed buildings, and closed a bridge.[7][8] May[edit] The Redwood River
Redwood River
in Minnesota
Minnesota
began experiencing severe flooding in May.[9] On May 22, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, received 7.5 inches (190 mm) of rain in a three-hour period. From May through July, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
South Dakota
received 22.55 inches (573 mm) of rain, the wettest three-month period in its history.[10] June[edit] As noted above, rains in South Dakota
South Dakota
contributed to flooding downstream. In June, flooding occurred along the Black River in Wisconsin, with flooding also starting to occur along the Mississippi, Missouri, and Kansas
Kansas
rivers.[9] Starting as early as June 7, reports of levees being overtopped and levee breaks became common. These breaches acted to delay the flood crests, temporarily storing excess water in the adjacent lowlands, but the rain kept falling.

Mississippi River
Mississippi River
out of its banks in Festus, Missouri. The spot where this photo was taken is nearly 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west and 30 feet (9.1 m) above the river.

In the beginning of June, the Missouri
Missouri
and Mississippi rivers dropped below flood stage and were receding. During the second week of June, river levels rose to near flood stage before yet again beginning their slow recession. By the end of June, the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
was four feet (1.2 m) below flood stage at St. Louis, while many other river locations in the region were near flood stage. Precipitation for the month averaged from one inch (25 mm) above normal in Kansas
Kansas
City, to nearly four inches (100 mm) above normal in Springfield, Missouri. July[edit] July brought more heavy rain to the Missouri
Missouri
and upper Mississippi River basins in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Illinois, and Minnesota. Rainfall amounts of 5 to 7 inches (125 to 175 mm) in 24 hours were common. Precipitation for the month averaged from one inch (25 mm) above normal at St. Louis
St. Louis
and Springfield, to between six and seven inches (150 to 175 mm) above normal at Columbia and Kansas
Kansas
City, Missouri.[citation needed]

Water encroaching on the City of Alton, Illinois

From July 11 until July 22, the Des Moines Water Works treatment facility was flooded by the Raccoon River. This resulted in the plant being powered down, unable to provide running water for that period. During this time the Army National Guard
Army National Guard
and American Red Cross
American Red Cross
set up water stations, and the local Anheuser-Busch
Anheuser-Busch
distributor contributed water in white six packs with their logo on it. Once running water was restored, there was enough pressure for people to bathe and flush toilets, but the water was not certified potable until July 29. The final usage restrictions were lifted in August.[citation needed] Major sandbagging activities took place along the higher Missouri River, the River des Peres
River des Peres
in St. Louis, the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
south of St. Louis, and on many other tributaries across Missouri
Missouri
and Illinois. Some of these efforts were successful, while others were not. The copious rain during July sent record-setting crests down the Mississippi and Missouri
Missouri
Rivers, causing river gauges to malfunction along the way. The record crests met within days of each other at their confluence near St. Louis. Navigation on the Mississippi and Missouri
Missouri
River was closed in early July, resulting in a loss of $2 million (1993) per day in commerce.[11] Mississippi River
Mississippi River
levels stabilized for a few days at April 1973 record stages. When the crest from the Missouri
Missouri
River arrived, levels rose again. The Mississippi River
Mississippi River
broke through levees, drove people and their possessions to higher ground, and caused havoc through the floodplains.[citation needed] The crests, now combined as one, moved downstream through St. Louis
St. Louis
on the way to the Upper Mississippi's confluence with the Ohio River
Ohio River
at Cairo, Illinois. Only minor flooding occurred below Cairo due to the Lower Mississippi's larger channel below that point, as well as drought conditions in the eastern U.S. If the Ohio River
Ohio River
watershed had not been in drought while the Missouri
Missouri
and Upper Mississippi were in flood, the 1993 flood might have rivaled the 1927 flood in overall damage on the Lower Mississippi, beyond Cairo.[citation needed] August[edit]

Monument to the 1993 flood at Jones-Confluence Point State Park
Jones-Confluence Point State Park
at the confluence of the Missouri
Missouri
and Mississippi Rivers in St. Charles County, Missouri, 400 feet (120 m) above sea level. The water reached the top of the pole at 438.2 feet (133.6 m).

On August 1, levee breaks near Columbia, Illinois, flooded 47,000 acres (190 km²) of land, inundating the Illinois
Illinois
towns of Valmeyer and Fults. The released water continued to flow parallel to the river, approaching the levees protecting historic Prairie du Rocher and Fort de Chartres. On August 3, officials decided to break through the stronger Mississippi River
Mississippi River
levee to allow the water back into the river. The plan worked and the historic areas were saved, although some residential areas were flooded in counties above Prairie du Rocher. The Mississippi River
Mississippi River
at St. Louis
St. Louis
crested at 49.6 feet (15.1 m) on August 1, nearly 20 feet (6 m)[12] above flood stage. It had a peak flow rate of 1,080,000 ft³/s (30,600 m³/s). At this rate, a bowl the size of Busch Memorial Stadium
Busch Memorial Stadium
in St. Louis
St. Louis
would be filled to the brim in 70 seconds. Costs and damage[edit] Some locations on the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
flooded for almost 200 days, while various locations on the Missouri
Missouri
neared 100 days of flooding. On the Mississippi, Grafton, Illinois, recorded flooding for 195 days, Clarksville, Missouri, for 187 days, Winfield, Missouri, for 183 days, Hannibal, Missouri, for 174 days, and Quincy, Illinois, for 152 days. The Missouri
Missouri
River was above flood stage for 62 days in Jefferson City, Missouri, 77 days at Hermann, Missouri, and for 94 days at St. Charles in the St. Louis
St. Louis
metropolitan area. On October 7, 103 days after the flooding began, the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
at St. Louis
St. Louis
finally dropped below flood stage. Approximately 100,000 homes were destroyed as a result of the flooding, 15 million acres (60,000 km²) of farmland inundated, and the whole towns of Valmeyer, Illinois, and Rhineland, Missouri, were relocated to higher ground.[2] The floods cost 32 lives officially; however, a more likely target is suspected to be around 50 people, as well as an estimated $15–20 billion in damages.[citation needed] Even after the water was gone, large amounts of sand still covered the farmlands and homes. Comparison with other colossal floods in Kansas
Kansas
City[edit]

High water marks at Westport Landing on the Missouri
Missouri
River in Kansas City. The flood heights from top to bottom are 1993, 1844 and 1951. ASB Bridge
ASB Bridge
in background

Channeling and levee construction altered how the floods affected various areas along the Missouri
Missouri
River. Here is a comparison of Kansas City data for the three big floods since the early 19th century.

Great Flood
Flood
of 1844 – This was the biggest flood of the three in terms of rate of discharge at Westport Landing in Kansas
Kansas
City. It is estimated that 625,000 cubic feet per second (17,700 m³/s) was discharged in the flood. However, the crest on July 16, 1844, was almost a foot (0.3 m) lower than the 1993 flood. Great Flood
Flood
of 1951 – The 1951 flood was the second biggest in terms of rate of discharge at 573,000 ft³/s (16,200 m³/s). The 1951 crest on July 14, 1951, was almost two feet (0.6 m) lower than the 1844 flood and three feet (1 m) lower than 1993. However, the flood was the most devastating of all modern floods for Kansas
Kansas
City since its levee system was not built to withstand it. It destroyed the Kansas
Kansas
City Stockyards and caused Kansas
Kansas
City to build Kansas
Kansas
City International Airport away from the Missouri
Missouri
River bottoms to replace the heavily damaged Fairfax Airport
Fairfax Airport
in Kansas
Kansas
City, Kansas. Great Flood
Flood
of 1993 – The 1993 flood was the highest of any of the three but had the lowest discharge at 541,000 ft³/s (15,300 m³/s). While the 1993 flood had devastating impacts elsewhere, Kansas City survived it relatively well because of levee improvements after the 1951 flood.

References[edit]

^ " Missouri
Missouri
River Mainstem Reservoir Bulletin" (PDF). US Army Corp of Engineers. June 22, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-22. [permanent dead link] ^ a b c d e Larson, Lee W. "The Great USA Flood
Flood
of 1993". National Weather Service.  ^ "High Water: Building A Global Flood
Flood
Atlas". NASA Earth Observatory. Retrieved 2007-10-25.  ^ Goodrich, Robert (August 16, 1993). "Watching Over: Civil Air Patrol on Flood
Flood
Duty". St. Louis
St. Louis
Post Dispach. Retrieved 2007-12-04.  ^ "Lewis & Clark Expedition", St. Louis
St. Louis
Founding, National Park Service ^ Verhovek, Sam Howe (August 2, 1993). "THE MIDWEST FLOODING; St. Louis Defenses Contain Flood
Flood
As Crest Is Lower Than Predicted". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-09-08.  ^ "Milestones". Time Magazine. December 19, 1994.  ^ "Scapegoat". Illinois
Illinois
Times. January 19, 2006.  ^ a b Lott, Neal (September 16, 1993). "The Summer of 1993: Flooding in the Midwest
Midwest
and Drought
Drought
in the Southeast, Technical Report 93-04" (PDF). National Climatic Data Center, NOAA.  ^ http://www.crh.noaa.gov/fsd/?n=20thcentury ^ Kaskaskia is inundated by flood of '93. Archived 2009-04-13 at the Wayback Machine. (2009). History.com. Retrieved 07:30, Jul 20, 2009 ^ "The Mississippi River
Mississippi River
Flood
Flood
Of 1993". weather.com. 

Further reading[edit]

Stanley Changnon, The Great Flood
Flood
of 1993: Causes, Impacts, And Responses, Westview, 1996. ISBN 0-8133-2619-2

External links[edit] Media related to Great Flood
Flood
of 1993 at

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