March 22 2008


1993 FloodingI’ve been getting numerous phone calls and emails asking if I am near the current flooding in my state, and I can thankfully report that I am not. All of it is at the opposite end of the state from me, and seems to be fairly isolated.

This seems like an interesting time to bring up the 1993 floods though. Now there were some floods.  The picture to the left is the capital of Missouri, Jefferson City, as it appeared at the height of those floods.  It’s not normally quite that water logged, not by a long shot.

What essentially happened back then was a higher than normal snowfall in the north of the country started melting in the spring, and that started raising the river levels at the top of the Mississippi river.  As it started moving south we saw rising levels, but not anything horrible.  Where we got screwed was when we had insane amounts of rain, like months with no break in the rains.  That added to the already swollen rivers, and then they joined with others and it turned into a domino effect.

Kirksville is luckily not close to any major rivers, but we  got turned into a virtual island, and actually started having problems getting mail and groceries due to routes being cut off.

I knew we were screwed when I headed to Quincy, IL on July 1st to take the train to Chicago for a business trip.  Quincy has two major bridges across the Mississippi, and as I crossed the east bound one, I saw the water way, WAY higher than it should have been.  I called my family and told them I was sure the bridge would be closed while I was gone, they laughed.

Quincy, ILOn July 3rd they called me and told me the bridge was closed.  I still remind them of this.

When I was headed back on July 5th, my train was 90 minutes late leaving Chicago, we then were stopped on the tracks for another 90 minutes as it turned out our original crew never made it due to flooding, and our replacement crew had worked too long, so yet another replacement crew had to be brought out to us.  Three hours late I got to Quincy, and I made the dumbest drive of my life to get home as it looked like I was going to lose the west bound bridge soon and be stuck on the wrong side of the river for several hundred miles.

So, after the stupidest drive of my life due to being far too tired, it turned out the west bound didn’t close for a few days, but it did finally.   As more time passed, we ended up with hundreds of miles where there was no way to cross the river, an this lasted for months.  By the time we were done, we had worked our way up to it being “a thousand year flood”.  In other words, in theory, we would only see floods of this magnitude once in a thousand years, but that doesn’t stop us from all getting nervous if we have two days in a row of rain come spring time.

Luckily the current floods are far south, so it will be difficult for them to feed any of the other major rivers.  This isn’t to dismiss the damage they are doing, not by a long shot, but with everyone asking me if we’re okay, it’s just to much of a chance to look back 15 years.

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