For the first time since 1927, Mississippi River Valley in the United States recorded the worst floods that damaged property resulted in the loss of life. Despite being expected following heavy rains, most people were caught unawares after building their houses close to the River bank. This took place from 4th May in 2011 to 20th June 2011. During the period, there were two major storm systems that recorded unusual levels of rainfall. The rainwater combined with springtime snowmelt water caused the tributaries to Mississippi swell, as well as the main river. The most hit areas along the River included Kentucky, Mississippi, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and Louisiana.
Damages caused by the Mississippi floods
According to a report given after the floods, the total property damage was estimated to be worth $2-4 billion. President Barack Obama declared some parts including Mississippi, western side of Kentucky, and Tennessee as federal disaster areas. On May 4th, the first time in more than 35 years, the Morganza spillway had to be opened and flooded 4,600 square miles of Louisiana rural, thereby saving most of New Orleans and Baton Rouge parts. In Memphis and Tennessee, more than 1,300 homes were evacuated while more than 24,500 homes in Mississippi and Louisiana states were ordered to evacuate. However, some people dismissed the orders and sadly the floods resulted in the death of hundreds of people. Apart from the 14 killed in Arkansas, 392 more people were recorded to be killed across the seven affected states. Houses and buildings along Mississippi pathway were destroyed amounting to devastating losses. Following the flash floods, petroleum refinery outputs in US were affected with gasoline prices rising above the normal range. In the 3rd week of April 2011, two more storms each with tornadoes hit the place causing the Rivers to flood more hence causing more damage. The engineers of United States Army Corps were showing the progress of the disaster cautioning citizens of what was expected to happen. On May 10th, the flood crested in Memphis and, on the 15th, in southern Louisiana. They also claimed that the condition could have been worse if the spillways were not opened in advance.
While some people are still struggling to come to terms with the 2011 disaster, others settled and already back in their normal lives. However, those who had taken flood covers from private insurance companies were compensated financially reinstating them back to their original financial state. The county government of affected areas also played a paramount role in facilitating the recovery process. To avoid such devastating results in other years, the government proposed measures that are being put in place with the help of United States Corps engineers.