Deja Vu All Over Again


Bigger Pie Forum | Deja Vu All Over Again | Kelley Williams
On January 15, 2016, the Mississippi River at Vicksburg reached 50 feet — 7 feet above flood stage.  It was the highest January crest since 1879 when Congress put the Mississippi River Commission (MRC) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in charge of flood control.  A freak January flood.  It caused the Mississippi deer season to close early along the river.
It happened again this year.  On January 12-13, the river reached flood stage at Vicksburg and Greenville.  And the deer season closed early.  “Deja vu all over again,” as Yogi Berra said.  The river has reached flood stage in January only three times in 140 years — but twice in the last three years.
Mississippi River floods used to be predictable, often moderate and beneficial, spring time events.  Now they happen any time.  This current flood started last October when the river rose and stopped some farmers from combining soybeans.  Floods are longer, higher, more frequent, more destructive, year-round events now. Why?  Ironically, “flood control.”
Flooding is the worst in 500 years according to research by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute scientists published April 5, 2018 in the venerable Nature International Journal of Science.  The research shows that 75% of the flooding is due to “flood control” and 25% to cyclical rainfall patterns.
A prominent member of the Mississippi Levee Board said the January 2016 flood was due to El Niño and the January 2019 flood to hurricanes and more rain.  No mention of flood control.
We (Bigger Pie) think flood control projects turn variations in normal rainfall into damaging floods.  Our conclusion is consistent with the Woods Hole report.  But it’s based on different methodology: analyses of Corps river stage records, NOAA rainfall records and reports & studies of Corps flood control

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