MISSISSIPPI FLOODING - CASE STUDY

JUST GOING OVER SOME POINTS ON FLOODING, THIS TIME ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER IN AMERICA

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Geography
Case Study
Mississippi
The Mississippi river is a major river covering almost half of the USA. The river used to flood and the
channel moved around the floodplain. This made navigation difficult so people attempted to manage the
river. Strategies involved dykes, levees, dams and river straightening. This solved the flooding problem
as the river flowed faster over a shorter distance. In 1993 the management techniques failed and large
areas flooded. People now question whether or not we can control natural processes.
The Morganza Spillway is a floodway used in connection with the Old River Control Structure and
the Atchafalaya River located in east Central Louisiana. The use of the spillway would be used in case
of a flood from the Mississippi River. It would ultimately divert water from the river into the Morganza
Spillway and into the Atchafalaya Basin. It was used in 1973 to relieve pressure from the Old River
Control Structure. Louisiana Highway 1 has a 4mile bridge that travels over the spillway. The old
2lane bridge is used by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
The causes and impacts of the 1993 Mississippi Flood:
The river basin is the fifth largest in the world
It is the third longest river in the world behind the Nile & the Amazon
The river discharges 584 million tonnes of sediment a year
The flood plain is 200km wide at its widest point
The Mississippi flows through 10 states
The river carries 13% of all freight traffic in the USA
Its main tributaries are the R. Ohio, R. Kansas, R. Missouri & the Red River
The Causes of the 1993 Flood:
Floods are normal in the midwest usually arriving in the spring when rain and snowmelt fill the
streams & rivers that drain the upper Mississippi Basin
In 1993 as normal this happened the soil was still saturated from spring rains. Normally this is
followed by dry weather & has done so for the last 20 years
In 1993 Atmospheric conditions conspired to bring further torrential rains to the Mississippi Basin
A Jet stream swung South bringing cool dry air
Warm air moved North causing thunderstorms
Two high pressure systems developed blocking any movement of the thunderstorms
The rains continued throughout May, June and July.
Human Causes of the 1993 Floods:
Urbanisation of the Flood Plain reducing infiltration rates etc
Poorly built nonfederal levees
The development of unsuitable sites for development
The channelisation of the river especially at St Louis
Primary Effects:
50 people died

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Secondary Effects:
River traffic halted for several months
Crop losses were put at $2.…read more

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