Why Do the Tri-States Keep Flooding? - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Why Do the Tri-States Keep Flooding?


Battling floods is nothing new to Tri-State residents, but since the historic flood of 1993 we've had three other years where river levels approached record levels. This current Mississippi flood ranks fourth highest on record.

It's not just heavy rains and snow melt, many people believe there are other reasons behind the frequent flooding.

For Wesley Allensworth, fishing along the Mississippi river comes naturally.

"My grandfather was a commercial fisherman, and I've been around it a lot of my life. A big part of my friends were doing it growing up, and that was a way of life in Canton years ago," he said.

But he says the whole sport changes when the river floods.

"The fish move totally different - and they'll move more towards up against the levee," he said.

Another thing that's changed over the years - the general height of the river during flood years. Canton Emergency Management Director Jeff McReynolds says one reason for that is silt gathering at the bottom of the river.

"The chutes and bays that used to have deep-running water have - over the past several decades - begin to silt in. So really, the bottom of the river has gotten closer to the top - so when it rains, it impacts it, and we're getting higher flood heights," he says.

He says the channel of the river is still deep from dredging so barge traffic can continue through. But McReynolds says there's no way to dredge the whole river to lower the height.

"It's an impossible task. There is so much area that is silted that it's just not practical," he said/

McReynolds also says the levee was built up a couple of decades ago - to withstand a 24 and a half foot flood - and obviously - with the latest records - he's not sure if that height is enough any more.

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