Friday, March 27, 2009
The Creek Will Rise
I had this horrid nightmare just before waking that my roof was leaking and the icy water was ruining everything in my house. I hate those sort of dreams. They seem so very real at the same time you know they are totally impossible. When that is the case for me I generally look for something happening in the world that my subconscious is tied into. I did not have to look far: Fargo, North Dakota.
The people along the banks of the Red River and the Missouri have been working day and night to fill sandbags to raise the dikes as both rivers reached 115 year record highs. To put this is perspective when the residents of New Orleans were treading the flood waters after Katrina it was warm. The above picture is of a barely thawed Missouri River dammed up with broken ice floes.
I am sitting here looking out at the six inches of spring snow and 6 F temperature and knowing that would be warm in relation to what they are experiencing in North Dakota. I went to Minot, ND one spring and saw the Missouri there as the ice broke up. I lived in Kansas City at the time. And worked on an automobile plant being built on a former floodplain of the Missouri. It is a river that goes where it wants and when it wants. And if it is at 115 year high in North Dakota it will be even higher when other rivers in its drainage system join it.
At St. Louis it meets the Mississippi. The Corps of Engineers have built levees and dikes all along both rivers to avoid flooding homes and businesses and cities that built too close. The trouble is all those flood plains (seen as cheap land to develop) are surrounded by levees that won't let the waters in. At the GM plant we had four huge pumps that constantly dewatered the land and spewed the water back over the levees into the Missouri to head downstream. Those now forbidden flood plains are how Mother Nature used to lessen the flooding downstream.
The ice in this picture will melt and flow downstream. And the creek will rise.