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Apr 1 / Dave Schumaker

Floodplain Development in the Midwest

Dr. Robert E. Criss, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, says that patterns from this winter’s storms are eerily similar to those that preceded the Great Flood of 1993 in the Midwest. The Great Flood of 1993 was responsible for $20 billion in economic losses and destroyed 50,000 homes.

Great Flood of 1993

Parallels this year include abnormally high levels of precipitation in late winter and early spring and early flooding in various regions, such as the floods of late March in Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois and the Ohio River watershed. An unknown factor is the effect of the snow melt – Wisconsin, for instance, had record amounts of snow this winter – on river systems this spring and summer.

Despite the similarity in conditions, and periods of flooding nearly every year after those flood years more than a decade ago, one thing Midwesterners have not learned is “geologic reality.”

Criss’ arguments come across as harsh, but he raises completely valid points against development in floodplains and the consequences of levee systems.

[Via Eurekalert]

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