2019 Mississippi River Flood Already Tops $2B In Damage

Jun 28, 2019  | 2 min  | Ep4445

Flooding has sidelined many barges along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Damage estimates from high water on the Missouri are expected to top $1 billion.

Further down the Mississippi River, the Port of South Louisiana - the busiest in the country - has more than double the usual cargo ships in port waiting for the water to recede.

Paul Yeager has more. Producer Contact: paul.yeager@iptv.org


The 2019 flood event taking place along the Mississippi River is far from over, but – in many locations above St. Louis – the worst may finally be over.

A coalition of mayors who preside along one of the longest rivers in North America say the damage total is likely to be more than $2 billion. The total comes from losses in farming, manufacturing and navigation.

The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative released a report this week, the worst damage was seen from Davenport, Iowa to central Louisiana. More water has passed under the Vicksburg, Mississippi River Bridge than the floods of 2008 and 2011 combined.

The flood season began as heavy snowmelt from as far away as Montana and Pennsylvania started flowing towards Big Muddy. The amount of time communities were above flood stage approached 200 days as heavy spring rains exacerbated the situation in the planet’s third largest watershed. This prolonged event has lasted longer than the Great Flood of 1927.  

Patrick Banks, Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries: "Well, in a normal year, we would see the river rise in the springtime. But this year, we had a strong rise in the river in December of this past year. So, we've basically been at flood stage on the Mississippi River since December of 2018."

This levee breach in Davenport came in late April. Continued spring rains delayed the river opening to navigation.

As barge and tow traffic resumed, other long-term ecological impacts have been uncovered. The latest has fishermen struggling with their oyster catch as the amount of salinity in the water has become an inconsistent environment for growth.

Several states in the middle of the region have experienced the wettest 12-month period on record. A few locations have exceeded the record measurements established during the Flood of 1993.

For Market to Market, I’m Paul Yeager.

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