Flooding, a long-feared natural phenomenon, is a very real concern throughout the region. Water has spilled from the banks of the Mississippi many time over the years, causing widespread fear and devastation. The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the area's most devastating food event, prompted the implementation of numerous safety measures.
Arkansas was the hardest hit state with most of the flooding coming form tributaries to the Mississippi.
The Great Flood of 1927
The rain came in the summer of 1926 and they didn't let up. By fall, the river's swollen tributaries and become a great concern. In the spring, the Mississippi River broke out of its levee system in 145 places. Water up to 30 feet deep kills over 250 people in seven states. It flooded an area 50 miles wide and 100 miles long.
What is a levee?
A levee is a manmade structure built to prevent a river from overflowing its banks.
In 1927, the river remained at flood stage for a record 153 days!
Bursting at the seams
During the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, area residents feared the worst.
They tried to believe that the river's levees would keep them safe, but unfortunately, many gave way. Water spilled across land, washing away nearly everything in its path.
Startling stats about the flood of 1927
· Over 60,000 people lost homes In the flood.
· The flood caused $400 millions in damages,-equivalent to approximately 5 billion dollars today.
· Arkansas farmers lost entire crops-over two million acres were underwater.
· In some places, the river was sixty miles wide.
· The Great Flood led to a change in attitudes about the government's role in helping its citizens in time of crisis. People now looked to Washington for help.
During the Great Flood the levee was, the only dry spot.
How deep was the water?
Where you are standing is 15 feet above the ground. The water was up to 30 feet deep during the Great Flood.
Will it happen again?
Although levees, remain the keystone of the flood-control system, for the Mississippi and other rivers, after the Great Flood the Corps of Engineers yielded to pressure to include meander cutoffs, flood outlets, upstream reservoirs, and other measures. Even with those efforts, however, major floods have occurred on the Mississippi River in 1973 and 1993.