The South Braces For More Flooding Along The Mississippi River, And The Impact Has Already Been Devastating
Over the past week, swaths of the American Midwest have been struck by staggering floods, and they've already reaped a heavy toll. So far, 25 people have been reported dead, and the situation is far from over ― more flooding in the south along the Mississippi River is anticipated, and that's news that's sure to be worrying for countless people living near or around its banks.
The Mississippi River is the longest, largest river in the United States, and it has a long history of causing some major damage when flood waters surge. Back in 1993, the region endured one of the worst such examples in recent history, the "Great Flood," which spanned four summer months and left 50 people dead. That's one glaring distinction between the flooding then, and what's happening now ― the rate of death from the current flood is much higher over such a shorter period of time. As Reuters detailed, Missouri governor Jay Nixon spoke to how unrecognizable the flood stricken regions of his state looked: "It's almost as if you're living on some other planet. ... This is just a tiny fraction of the trail of destruction."
Heavy damage has already been dealt to the St. Louis area, and the river is expected to crest within Illinois on Sunday and Monday. From there, the southward descent could imperil regions all along the river's winding course ― it also runs through Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi, and clear down through Louisiana.
As quoted by CNN, the following cities throughout the south are expected to see the river crest on the following days.
- Memphis, Tennessee on January 9th.
- Greenville, Mississippi on January 14th.
- Vicksburg, Mississippi, on January 16th.
- Natchez, Mississippi, on January 17th.
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on January 19th.
In other words, it could be well towards the back end of January before residents in all these areas can feel a reasonable confidence that the worst is behind them. In St. Louis, however, the rebuilding process has reportedly already begun. According to NBC News, at least 12 levees failed against the force of the flooding, and in the town of Arnold, Illinois, more than 150 homes were underwater.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also urged caution to any residents of flooded regions who're returning to their homes, as KMOV detailed ― they're urging homeowners to examine the extent of any structural damage before entering, and to call for professional assistance if there are any indications of gas, water, or electrical malfunction. Remember: even if the floods have already passed you by, safety is paramount.