By Elizabeth O’Farrell
Mark Twain was right. The Mississippi will always have its own way.
The images are all too familiar–a house swept away, a family stranded, a levee being breached, a river swelled beyond its banks. In 1993, the Great Flood swamped the midwest, leaving lost lives, broken levees, ruined crops, buckled roads, and twisted rails in its wake.
Here is what we know, according to the United States Geological Survey and the New York Times.
We know that at least 50 people died as a result of the flood and more than 70,000 were left homeless.
We know that approximately 31,250 square miles of land was unusable. Eight million acres of that total was flooded agricultural land. Twelve million more acres were too wet to produce crops.
We know that the total damage to property approached $12 billion. Eight billion dollars of that was in crop damage.
We know that hundreds of towns along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers as well as their tributaries were underwater. Bridges were closed on the Mississippi from Davenport to St. Louis and on the Missouri from Kansas City to St. Charles.
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