A Storm Can Bring a Great Deal of Destruction
6/18/2018 (Permalink)The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927
The flooding of the Mississippi River in 1927 was the worst flood in American history. At the height of its power, the flood affected an area approximately 27,000 square miles affecting the states of Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas with Arkansas being hit the hardest. At one point the flooded area was 50 miles wide, a 100 miles long and 30 feet deep. 500 people were killed, 600,000 were left homeless and there were 350 million dollars in damages – approximately 5 billion dollars today.
How did it happen?
Heavy rains came down in late 1926 and kept falling from the sky well into 1927. The tributaries of the Mississippi started to become burdened and the levees overflowed. The single greatest weak point in the levee system was at Mounds, Mississippi but authorities assured residents that the levee would hold. Slaves were made to pile sandbags on top of the levee but once one leak started, the water flow continued to increase. The levee started to shake and eventually collapsed with water flowing more than double the volume of Niagara Falls. The Mounds Landing levee break was significant in that after its collapse, the entire levee system along the river broke. Mounds Landing is known as the most severe levee break in the history on the United States to this day.
The Mississippi Flood of 1927 brought about many changes to the region and the entire country. Racial tensions soared high and many African Americans migrated north resulting in what is now known as the Great Migration. Under the Flood Control Act of 1928 the world’s longest system of levees were built. In 1941 Congress authorized the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Yazoo Backwater Project which utilizes levees, connecting channels, drainage structures and pumps to prevent flooding in the Mississippi Delta. The Great Flood of 1927 will always be remembered and continues to affect our country, its geography, its people, culture and our landscape to this very day.