Posted by: Michael Ritter PhD | April 5, 2008

Spring Floods Return to the Midwest United States

Once again, conditions are right for serious spring flooding along major rivers like the Mississippi. Late winter and early spring precipitation, combined with the melting of a deep snowpack in the upper Midwest is sending rivers over their banks, inundating the surrounding terrain. Like the historic flood of 1993, this year could result in much damage as people continue to occupy flood-prone areas like floodplains.

Flooplains are flat areas that border a stream that are covered with water when a channel can no longer contain its flow. Levees are used to contain flood waters, yet they may do more harm than good. Levees cause water to rise higher, rather than allowing it to spread out onto the the surrounding floodplain. Levees also encourage development on floodplains, giving inhabitants a false sense of security (see ScienceDaily for more).

You can keep track of this year’s flooding by visiting the USGS’s WaterWatch Map of Flood and High Flow Conditions and Daily Stream Flow Conditions in real-time.

House Colliding with Bridge (March 2008)

TPE Link: Floods and Flooding


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