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2011 Mississippi River Flood

Jermaine Windham
Jae Scott
Esmeralda Dominguez
Lesly Alonso
Catalina Catalan

This project highlights the events of the 2011 Mississippi River Flood. We'll be discussing the geological facts, the aftermath of the flood, the history of Mississippi River Floods, and the solutions we can utilize in order to prevent future floods of the Mississippi River.

 

Background

Evacuate! Leave your homes!
The 2011 Mississippi River Flood was a natural disaster that impacted the lives of so many Americans. The event occurred in April and May of 2011. It was one of the largest and disastrous recorded on the U.S waterway. The Mississippi River Flood submerged many buildings and land $2.8 billion dollars in damage according to The Insurance Journal. Also according to The Insurance Journal, the flood hit over 119 counties causing so much destruction and loss. 14 people were killed in Arkansas, with 392 killed across seven states in the preceding storms. Because of this horrific event, many lives were lost and buildings and property were completely dismantled. The 2011 Mississippi River Flood is one of the biggest floods and most damaging floods in American History. On this website, you will find information on the events of the flood, the solutions that were taken, the aftermath of the flood, and the overall history of The Mississippi River Floods.
We have all done extensive research going through informational sources in order to gather the most relevant information on the 2011 Mississippi River Flood. From our website, we hope that our audience understands the severity and damage that the 2011 Mississippi River Flood caused. We also hope that this project helps people to be more prepared when in danger of a natural disaster. Tragic events happen often and the more aware and prepared we are, the more we can do to keep our families and loved ones safe!

 

Aftermath

 

The Mississippi river flood was a traumatic experience for the community and captured the attention of the media. Many researchers and Magazines such as Insurance Journal, CNN and Wikipedia reported in detail the aftermath of the Flooding. Wikipedia reported around 20 deaths after Mississippi flood, and 392 deaths after proceeding storms.

Geological Facts

The Mississippi Flood officially started in late April of 2011. The river is the second longest river and second largest drainage system in North America; making this flood on to go down in history. The river itself is split into three different parts, the “Upper Mississippi”, the “Middle Mississpi”, and the “Lower Mississippi”. The river spans 2,201 miles long and travels along 10 states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana. Due to events such as the Tornado Outbreak of 2011, causing heavy rainfall during the year, the river and over tributaries began to overflow. Nearly four times of average rainfall made it into the Mississippi River. On top of this, previous floods caused levees and spillways to be destroyed and not be as safe as they could be. On May 2nd, the first levee broke within Missouri. The amount of levees being destroyed began to increase which led to many concerns. Authorities began to evacuate cities such as Cairo, Illinois , Baton Rouge and New Orleans. On May 9th, the Bonnet Carre Spillway was partially opened leading the flood waters into Lake Pontchartrain which also drains into the Gulf of Mexico. On May 14th, the Morganza Spillway was also opened allowing more levees to be protected and avoid damage from the incoming water. The water eventually drains into the Atchafalaya River basin and covered much of the cropland. Around 3,000 people had evacuated to different locations as far as neighboring states and estimated three million acres may have been submerged in a matter of a few days.

 

Solutions

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Throughout time we have come to the realization that climate change is really affecting our planet thus creating a ripple of effects affecting our lives, one of them being floods. Floods have caused billions of dollars in damages and can kill many leading them to create solutions such as ….

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Flood Barriers as they help provide additional support to prone areas of flood. They aren’t as expensive as other popular solutions and make the process of removing them much less difficult; it’s convenient. An impermeable membrane plus the weight of the water aids the barrier to stay in place hence not needing any other tool to do so. The support offered helps it stay firm when waters start acting up. Another suggestion has been to modernize farming practices & policies, for years farmers have been doing the same practices like spending most of their money on tile grains and cutting down forests when they could be spending it on something better - cover crops. Cover crops are not only good for farming but it enables the cropped soil to hold 40% more water hence it being beneficial.

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Flood Mitigation is also another popular solution which includes flood water diversion and storage.  The goal of the method is to divert “floodwaters into wetlands, floodplains, canals, pipes, reservoirs, or other conduits helps mitigate flooding by allowing for a controlled release of water outside of residential or metropolitan areas.” (NCSL) Protecting wetlands is also an essential solution as a “single acre of wetland can store 1-1.5 million gallons of flood water.” (NWF) This just goes on to showcase that wetlands do indeed help in absorbing and sustaining water thus preventing floods to occur in urban areas. The government should be able to fund programs such as the Wetland Reserve in order to be able to successfully protect it. Low Impact Development & Green Infrastructure has also been brought up as “LIDs and GIs mitigate the risk of floods by storing water. They tend to mimic natural hydrology and include innovations such as green roofs and permeable pavement.” (NCSL)  This a green way of preventing flood as it saves and keeps water for other uses hence it not going to waste as it becomes available for the community to use.

 

History

If we take a journey through the history of Mississippi, we will find that the 2011 Mississippi River flooding was not the first flooding to occur. Mississippi has had a long history with natural disasters.

 
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 The Great flood of 1993

But after the 1927 flood Mississippi was not prepared for “The Great Flood of 1993”, a flood that’s considered to be one of the largest floods in US history. Taking place for two months straight from late June to mid-August creating a huge damage in Mississippi. Having 50,000 homes being destroyed or damaged, 52 individuals died, nearly $20 million in damaged cost, and around 1,000 out of the 1,300 levees in Mississippi did not work and till this day they are not 100% fixed thus not reliable. The Mississippi river in the past would take multiple courses but now it goes in one direction because we are trying to control and lower the floods taking place by the Mississippi river.

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Mississippi River flood of 1927: Flooding

 Looking back a couple decades ago a major flood called The Great Mississippi River flood of 1927 took place. A flood that created severe damage from southern Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. After the natural disaster a concern was raced leading for national discussion on how to control the flooding by the Mississippi River. Thus the Flood Control Act of 1928 was implemented to help create ways to improve the control of floods with the help of U.S Army Corps of Engineer. This act was the first of many implemented to inform individuals about flood control followed by the Flood Control Act of 1936. An act to prioritize the national concern of floods.

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2011 Mississippi River Flooding

During this project we will focus on the 2011 Mississippi River Flooding a natural disaster that created a major catastrophe.

References

Flood. (2008). In UXL Encyclopedia of Weather and Natural Disasters (Vol. 3, pp. 
321-335). Detroit, MI: UXL. Retrieved from 
https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3044900019/GVRL?u=uiuc_uis&sid=GVRL&xid
=5ed50c4c
Smith, J. S. (2003). Mississippi River. In S. I. Kutler (Ed.), Dictionary of American 
History (3rd ed., Vol. 5, pp. 415-418). New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons. Retrieved from https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3401802701/GVRL?u=uiuc_uis&sid=GVRL&xid=b2cc2fd1

“Environmental Engineering Insights: The Effects of River Engineering on Extreme Flood Events.” FennerEsler,
www.fenner-esler.com/blog/environmental-engineering-insights-the-effects-of-river-engineeringon-extreme-flood-events/.
Quick, A. (2018, September 2). 25 years later, a look back at the Flood of 1993. Retrieved from 
https://thesouthern.com/news/local/environment/years-later-a-look-back-at-the-flood-of/article_d30e9988-c90e-5e25-9559-91c9fdaf7bb7.html
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2019, June 24). Mississippi River flood of 1927. 
Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/event/Mississippi-River-flood-of-1927 
US Department of Commerce, & Noaa. (2019, August 10). Mississippi River Flood 
History 1543-Present. Retrieved from https://www.weather.gov/lix/ms_flood_history
Sainz, Adrian, and Jeffery R. “Mississippi River Flood of 2011 Caused $2.8B in 
EconomicDamage: Army Corps.” Insurance Journal, Insurance Journal, 4 Mar. 2013, www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2013/02/27/282875.htm.
“2011 Mississippi River Floods.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Nov. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Mississippi_River_floods
Taylor, Alan. “Mississippi Flooding.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 11 May https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/05/mississippi-flooding/100064/
Pallardy, Richard. “Mississippi River Flood of 2011.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 5 Mar. 2019, https://www.britannica.com/event/Mississippi-River-flood-of-2011
Sheppard, Kate. “The Mississippi River Flooding, Explained.” Mother Jones, 26 June 2017, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/05/mississippi-river-flooding-explained/
(n.d). How do you stop flooding? (2019, November 8). Retrieved November 20, 2019, from
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-25929644.
Tyrrell, K., & DuBois, G. (2019, November 9). Flood Mitigation . Retrieved November 20, 2019, from
http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/flood-mitigation.aspx.
(n.d.). Mississippi River Flooding Natural Solutions for an Unnatural Disaster A Blueprint for Strengthening Nature’s Defenses to better Protect People and Communities along the Mississippi River. Retrieved November 20, 2019, from 
http://b50ym1n8ryw31pmkr4671ui1c64-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/11/files/2011/05/05-18-11-NWF-MissRiverFloodingReport-Final.pdf
McCain, R. (n.d.). Natural Resources Conservation Service. Retrieved November 20, 2019, from  
https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/ms/programs/easements/acep/?cid=nrcs142p2_017233.
Organization. (2011, July 12). PHOTOS: Historic Flooding Along The Mississippi. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mississippi-river-flooding-photos-2011_n_861204?slideshow=true#gallery/5bb17d85e4b09bbe9a62380d/24. 
Sainz, A., & R, J. (2013, March 4). Mississippi River Flood of 2011 Caused $2.8B in Economic 
Damage: Army Corps. Retrieved from https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2013/02/27/282875.htm. 
Watkins, T. (2011, May 10). Effects of epic flood will linger long after water recedes. Retrieved 
from http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/05/09/mississippi.river.flooding.impact/index.html. 

 
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