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Roger Weller, geology instructor
by Tiffany Lotz
Mississippi River Flood of 2008
something many of us probably never think twice about. Itís one of those ďitíll
never happen to meĒ scenarios that most of us brush off as nothing to be
concerned about. Especially living in the desert-like climate that we do,
floods are not at the forefront of our minds. However, floods, flashfloods, and
mudslides can wreak havoc on unsuspecting victims in just a momentís notice.
In the summer of 2008, my
hometown area of Good Hope, Illinois experienced one of the greatest floods of
our history. The rains continued for months and the local levees broke. The
levees were holding the Mississippi River in its banks and keeping it from
flowing out into the nearby cities. My town was far enough away to not
experience too much damage, but other people werenít as lucky.
Photo by Dr. J David Rogers
Many people who lived in towns nearer to the river had to build their own levees around their homes out of sandbags in order to keep the water out. Even still, many homes were completely ruined by water damage after the local levees failed and their makeshift levees werenít enough.
Photo by CNN
Many roads were closed
because flooding made them impossible to cross. The roads connecting Keokuk,
Iowa and Hamilton, Illinois had to be built up with tons and tons of dirt just
to make them passable.
Photo by Jamie Steen
Most of the flooding in
my area was caused by rainfall that occurred to our north in Wisconsin. Two
heavy rainfalls filled the river with extra water that could not be contained by
More than nine levees
were overtaken by the raging waters flooding through the Mississippi River.
People in Burlington, Iowa filled more than 1.5 million sandbags in the days
just before the river crested.
The Mississippi River is
fed by many tributaries that lead into it. It then drains off into the Gulf of
Mexico at New Orleans. Some of the tributaries include the Ohio River and the
officially reached its flood stage in April 2008 and remained there for over a
month. Records indicate that this was the riverís highest stage since 1973. It
was a devastating occurrence, and many people will remember the effects of this
flood for the rest of their lives.
This is the bridge located in Quincy, Illinois after the local levee could no longer hold the surging waters of the flooded Mississippi River.
Photo by AFP