Flood data only one part of equationPublished 12:01am Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Nearly two years after the Mississippi River swelled to record levels and scared the heck out of residents along its mighty banks, the estimated price tag for the carnage came back this week.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency charged with keeping the Mississippi River navigable and reducing flooding disasters, released a report on the Great Flood of 2011.
The numbers were amazing.
The Corps estimated the cost of the flood was approximately $2.8 billion. They estimated 21,000 houses and some 1.2 million acres of agricultural land were affected.
No one in Vidalia needed to see the report to know just how bad the damage was.
The City of Vidalia is still reeling from the one-two punch of the flood of 2011, followed by extreme low water levels the following year.
But the financial impact is only one part of the equation. The looming flood threat rattled many nerves all along the river’s banks.
For the Miss-Lou, we mostly dodged a bullet — except for a few valiant businesses along the river who suffered losses — and the community came together more than we had in years, welded by the common threat of the river.
In hindsight, the good news from the flood was that, for the most part, the intricate system of levees and other flood-control devices the Corps uses to maintain the river levels actually worked.
As the Corps’ report indicated the system was pushed hard, but worked. The Corps is aiming to use what they learned from 2011 and strengthen the system even more so that when the water rises again, so does our confidence level.
For those residents who lived through the flood threat, the dangers the river posed in 2011 may not soon be forgotten, but we hope that like the levees we’ll prove even stronger when we’re tested again.