I first came to St. Louis in August of ’93, which is a year no one around here will ever forget.
I came cross country from Baltimore in my little, two door Toyota Tercel through a blistering summer heatwave, all that I owned of any significance in the hatchback. I had been vaguely aware, as had the whole country, that the floodwaters on the Mississippi had been high that year, especially in St. Louis. I wasn’t even remotely prepared for what I would see when I reached and crossed the river. The waters had spilled over the banks and created vast expanses of standing water. Everywhere I looked, trees, houses, billboards, telephone poles and more rose up like post-apocalyptic specters from the murky brown water. It was my first and best glimpse of the water itself, though even long after the waters receded, St. Louis reeled from the effects of the flooding. It took years to rebuild and recover, and long before the process was complete, the memorials started appearing. Signs and plaques saying things like – “the water from the ’93 flood rose this far under the Arch…”
Now it is happening again, but this time not in St. Louis, or at least not yet. The picture here is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Fifteen years later, one glance at this conjures up the memories of ’93, and the summer flooding season isn’t over. The excess water in the upper reaches of the Mississippi that doesn’t flood and dissipate will move downstream, and high waters are expected here in the near future. How high? I don’t know, but we’ll see if some of the re-engineered levees and things have improved St. Louis’ flood preparedness. For now, pray for the Iowans who are coping with the devastation of mass flooding, and pray that the flooding doesn’t keep spreading.