Well, off topic but timely for the week, but, hey, it’s history in the making. I live in the Midwest and we have been experiencing what has been dubbed the “New Year’s Flood.” Perhaps you have seen the meme going around on social media depicting “The Great Sea of the Midwest?” Very true last week. Due to floodwater, we are a sea with many islands. However, it may have been better called the Mississippi Sea, after both the drainage basin and the name given to the area as it existed in the dinosaur age.
With having a wet December in general followed by three days of torrential downpours of over a foot total (on an already saturated area), bad is an understatement. All the rivers, creeks, and streams are up. One, that bisects my state and paralleling a major interstate is at a flood stage much higher than than in the Great Flood of 1993. Not only has it shut down the roadway, rising waters killed at least 6. A second major interstate had to be closed down in two places-one in my state and the other in the neighboring state across the river. Then a third interstate had to be shut down due to flooding. Unlike the other two where this occurred during both major and flash floods in the past, this interstate has not once experienced flooding anywhere outside of the former swamplands, now drained, approximately 200 miles south. Even there, it was never this quantity of water and a lane each direction was usually still open. And with that closure, I was unable to see my family New Year’s Eve and celebrate with them. Every route between me and them was flooded out. All of the other roadways, the highways and lettered roads had been closed days earlier (reopened in time to see them later in the weekend). Thus I rang in the new year isolated from the people that mean the most to me. Not my plan when they were supposed to spent the eve with me.
Isolation is not a fun feeling. Aside from the spoiled plans, there was also worry that where I’m at would be flooded in too. In fact, during all of this we were cut off from routes directly east and south. The route north (which led to another road to head east) has a bridge that has gone underwater before. Had that happened to it or another smaller bridge on the route, we also would have been cut off to the north. With west being the only route and many of the north and south routes from it closed off for flooding, one would have to go nearly to the big city on the state line just to get anywhere else. That was worrisome and started the feeling of possible isolation before the above occurred.
Already, I know this will be an expensive disaster. Statewide at least 13 lives have been lost. I know of a road at home that even before the major flooding started, the creek was ready to undercut and collapse the road. A major thoroughfare’s bridge in the Metro area near home has cracked and will likely be decommissioned for repair. Plus add in all the property damage to individuals and business and all not yet discovered. Worse, even, is the fact that the flooding was so bad in areas that water rose higher than it had ever been before or ever was predicted so there are many who lived outside of floodplains, thus unable to purchase flood insurance, whose homes and businesses flooded (many to roof level!). They’ve lost all without recourse unless the federal government steps in with assistance.
Yes, it’s bad. Yes, it was an isolating experience. Sadly, it may happen again as Mother Nature is unpredictable and many levees protected one area only to divert water to areas that never before experienced a flood or made water much higher in areas that did. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the water is predicted to rise on the Mississippi at higher levels than in 1993 south of St. Louis? Yes, bad. Very bad.