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Joseph Howard
Joseph Howard

The The Flood

The National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 strengthened the NFIP with a number of reforms that included increasing the focus on lender compliance, creating mitigation insurance and developing a mitigation assistance program to further reduce the costly and devastating impacts of flood.

The The Flood

The Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004 further strengthened the NFIP with a number of reforms that included reducing losses to properties for which repetitive flood insurance claim payments have been made, creating policyholder awareness about individual flood insurance policies, increasing policyholder information on guidance about the flood insurance claims process and establishing a minimum flood insurance training and education requirement for insurance professionals.

Flood Mitigation Assistance is a competitive grant program that provides funding to states, local communities, federally recognized tribes and territories. Funds can be used for projects that reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program.

FEMA has published a funding notice called Swift Current to explore how to make flood mitigation assistance available within the disaster recovery timeframe for repetitively flooded and substantially damaged buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program. Initially FEMA is offering this funding opportunity to Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, states affected by Hurricane Ida.

Unfortunately, 11 people died in Western North Carolina during the 2004 floods. One hundred forty homes were destroyed, another 16,234 damaged. There was $7 million dollars in damage in a seven-county area. It served as a sobering reminder of what can happen, even today.

Stream gauges now installed above and below the reservoir help inform release decisions. While portions of Biltmore Village flooded 4 feet deep during the flood of 2004, inundation maps showed only 2 or 3 inches of the Biltmore Village flooding came from the reservoir.

Those plans, coupled with an unprecedented ability to notify residents of imminent danger through mobile phone technology and computers, greatly lessens the risk of a catastrophic loss of life when major flooding comes to call. And based on both history and future meteorology modeling, it will.

Floods along the Mississippi River and throughout the South were not uncommon as Bessie Smith made heartbreakingly clear in her song Back Water Blues, recorded in March 1927, and inspired by a flood occurring more than a year earlier.

The lasting impact of the Great Mississippi River Flood, however, places it in its own category. The flood inundated 16 million acres of land, displacing nearly 640,000 people in states from Illinois to Louisiana. In Vicksburg, Mississippi, the river swelled to 80 miles wide.

The Great Mississippi River Flood disproportionately impacted African Americans, like many other floods in U.S. history. It is estimated that of those who lost their homes, more than half a million were black. Hundreds of thousands of African Americans were displaced from their communities and workplaces.

The railroads and plantations affected by the flood feared their laborers, who lost everything when forced from their homes, would never return. In the Delta lowlands, African American families made up 75% of the population and supplied 95% of the agricultural labor force. Many of these laborers were trapped in situations far worse than sharecropping, stuck in a system that bound them perpetually to the plantations.

At many camps, including the one at Greenville, Mississippi, National Guard troops prevented refugees from leaving and outsiders from visiting. The Colored Advisory Commission reported that at Greenville, Negro inmates complained whites came and went at will without passes, while colored people were not given similar privileges. There were also complaints of rough treatment of colored people and discrimination regarding labor conditions and the distribution of food. The Guard also unofficially promised to return refugees to their employers after the flood was over. Thousands of African Americans would later leave these refugee camps or bypass them all together to pursue new lives in northern towns and cities, accelerating the Great Migration.

"There are reports of high water over many DFW roadways, especially city streets. Despite the heaviest rainfall moving further south, flooding will continue where heavy rain has fallen. Do not drive into flooded roadways, and avoid traveling if at all possible.

A National Weather Service flash flooding warning stated that flooding was ongoing near downtown Dallas. Numerous roads and cars were reported to be submerged, including Interstate 30, the warning said.

The flooding was caused by slow-moving thunderstorms with intense rainfall rates along a stalled frontal boundary. The heavy rain overwhelmed an area that was in extreme to exceptional drought heading into the weekend.

\\\"There are reports of high water over many DFW roadways, especially city streets. Despite the heaviest rainfall moving further south, flooding will continue where heavy rain has fallen. Do not drive into flooded roadways, and avoid traveling if at all possible.

The Louisville area has been subject to flooding for thousands of years. Low-lying land along the Ohio River is covered frequently in the winter and spring. Ohio River floods typically occur over days or weeks and waters rise relatively slowly. Louisville is also prone to flash flooding from interior streams. Heavy rains can also cause intense flash flooding along local streams. Flash floods can also occur due to a dam or levee failure. Large expanses of flatlands, lowlands and former swamplands can be quick to flood and slow to drain. Flash flooding often occurs over a short period of time, sometimes in just a few minutes.

The morning of January 24 the entire Ohio River was above flood stage. In Louisville, the river rose 6.3 feet from January 21-22. As a result, the river reached nearly 30 feet above flood stage. Louisville, where light and water services had failed, was the hardest hit city along the Ohio River. On January 27, the river reached its crest at 460 feet above sea level or 40 feet above its normal level, which is well over a 100-year event. Almost 70 percent of the city was under water, and 175,000 people were forced to leave their homes. The U.S. Weather Bureau reported that total flood damage for the entire state of Kentucky was $250 million, an incredible sum in 1937. The number of flood-related deaths rose to 190. The flood completely disrupted the life of Louisville, inundating 60% of the city and 65 square miles.

The 1937 flood prompted the construction of the Ohio River Flood Protection System. Started in 1948, it took nearly 40 years to complete. The floodwall stretches for 29 miles from northeastern Louisville Metro to the southwest, protecting about 110 square miles from Ohio River flooding. Sixteen pumping stations move stormwater from the protected area into the river.

Although the Great Flood of 1937 gets most of the attention, and perhaps deservedly so, the flood that beset the Ohio River Valley eight years later was also extremely damaging. While 1937 is the flood of record at Louisville, 1945 is in second place (albeit a distant 2nd), with a peak stage at Louisville of 42.10 feet. This stage is about ten feet below the 1937 stage. The flood drove 50,000 people from their homes, and caused millions of dollars of damage.

As is almost always the case with massive Ohio River floods, snow melt had very little impact. The deepest snow cover at Louisville between New Year's Day and the flood was only 3 inches on the 29th of January, and that melted away in a few days. The bulk of the heavy rain that caused the flood fell during a three week period leading up to the flood. Rainfall during that time was over 500% of normal in southern Indiana, and around 400% of normal along the length of the Ohio River.

In February of 1884, nearly the entire country experienced above average rainfall. The heavy rains and melting snow caused major problems along the Ohio River. On February 14th, the river was rising one inch every hour before it crested on February 16th. This was the largest Ohio River flood on record at the time. Because the river rose relatively slowly, property owners had warning of the flood and some property was able to be saved; however, the total losses to the City were still estimated to be $100,000 dollars.

In 1964, the community experienced its third greatest flood of the 20th century. This flood approximated the 100-year base flood. Most of the flood damage occurred in the southwest section of the county with about 1,200 homes being flooded. Property damage was estimated at $3,600,000.

In Kentucky, twenty-one people were killed and an estimated $250 to $500 million in damages where caused by the flooding. The damages incurred by the entire Ohio River flood exceeded $1 billion and over 67 deaths. Fortunately, the floodwalls partially protected Louisville, preventing even more damage.

The 1907 flood occurred in January after heavy rains in the Ohio River Valley. Thousands of people were homeless due to the flood. Many factories in Louisville, Jeffersonville, and New Albany were closed, leaving people without work. Estimated damage for this flood was approximately a quarter of a million dollars.

In April of 1948, the Ohio River reached its ninth largest flood stage. That same year, the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the first section of flood wall in Louisville to protect a large portion of the city from flooding from the Ohio River. This section of flood wall was completed in 1957 and protected the area from Beargrass Creek to just south of Rubbertown.


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