Geologist decries floodplain development

Photo courtesy of USGSLevees are not infalliable.Midwesterners have to be wondering: Will April be the cruelest month? Patterns in the Midwest this spring are eerily reminiscent of 1993 and 1994, back-to-back years of serious flooding. Parallels this year include abnormally high levels of precipitation in late winter and early spring, early flooding in various regions, and record amounts of snow in states upstream. One thing Midwesterners have not learned is “geologic reality,” says Robert E. Criss, Ph.D., professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

Lewis and Clark data show a different Missouri River

WUSTL scientists say the present-day Missouri River is narrower and more prone to flooding because of extensive damming of the river.The oldest data available on the Missouri River – from the logs of Lewis and Clark – show that water flow on the river today is far more variable than it was 200 years ago. The data also show that the river is some 220 yards narrower at St. Charles, Mo., today at 500 yards across than in 1804 when it spread out some 720 yards.