Cross-posted at Highly Allochthonous
Got flood fatigue yet? Too bad, because the wet weather and the high water keeps coming. Here is a quick round up of the notable flood-related news of the week.
Front row seats for water levels above flood stage on the Mississippi River, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 21 April 2011
- My post, ‘Levees and the illusion of flood control‘, has been nominated for the 2011 3 Quarks Daily Prize in Science.
Right now, 20 semi-finalists are being chosen by a round of public voting that ends tomorrow (June 11). If you haven’t voted yet, please take a moment to vote for me. (It’s easy; no registration required.) If my flood post didn’t float your boat, there is also a bevy of other good Earth Science blogging in the running, as summarized by Lab Lemming. Please head over to vote:
Update: I got voted into the semi-finals and picked by the editors for inclusion in the final round of the contest. Thanks for your support.
- Columbia’s Earth Institute has a must-read piece on alternative to levees as a river- and flood-management tool – highlighting the Dutch approach to “making room for the rivers” and how that might be applied in the US.
- The US Army Corps of Engineers is slowly closing the gates at the Morganza Floodway in Louisiana. Only one gate is still open, but you can still see the inundation on today’s NASA Earth Observatory image.
- Floodwaters have retreated from most of the Bird’s Point Floodway, as shown by this fantastic pair of images from NASA. Nonetheless, land owners in the floodway are suing the Corps of Engineers for damages.
- This spring’s floods have prompted some public musing about alternative ways to manage the Mississippi. America’s Waterway has been active on Twitter during the floods, asking for a basin-wide approach to river management.
- Worth a watch. Reeks with hubris but a good overview of this year’s Mississippi flood: USACE video
Floodwall (with emergency height added) in Omaha, Nebraska during the record 1952 floods. Will that record be broken this year? (Image from Nebraska DNR.)
Heavy snowpacks in the Missouri River watershed (an areally large, but volumetrically smaller contributor to the Mississippi) have led to near-record flooding that is on-going along its whole length from Montana to Missouri. It’s not getting as much media attention as the Mississippi River, but water levels may stay above flood stage for months. Right now there are heavy rains occurring in parts of the basin, with more rain in the forecast, which will only add to flood problems.
Like the Mississippi, the Missouri is heavily managed by the Corps of Engineers, which is taking some criticism for residents in affected cities. There have also been evacuations because of seepage under levees and concerns about the possibility of failure. Like all big river/developed world flood stories, this one is a complicated mix of huge volumes of water, complicated multi-purpose river management plans, and unwise historical floodplain development.
In Historic Flooding On Mississippi River, A Missed Opportunity To Rebuild Louisiana:
Flooding from heavy rain in Guizhou province, southwestern China on 6 June 2011 (photo: Xinhua)
For months, China has been stricken by its most intense drought in 60 years, but right now it’s too much, not too little, water that is the problem. Flooding since the 1st of the month has affected East China’s Jiangxi Province and 12 provinces in central and southern China, and more rain is in the forecast for many areas. Intense rains over the last few days have caused the evacuation of more than 100,000 people and killed at least 54.
The Flood Observatory is also reporting on-going flooding in Colombia, the Philippines, Algeria, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Canada, India, and Upstate New York/Vermont’s Lake Champlain area. In every one of these places, people are losing their homes and lives. While volcanoes and earthquakes shake things up spectacularly now and again, every single day, somewhere in the world, there’s a devastating flood going on.