Thursday, November 1, 2012
Thankful Thursday - Weather
I have been watching my anipals out east and hoping they are fine in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Mom caught a bit of Hurricane Irene last year at BlogPaws, and was awestruck by the force of wind. Here in St. Louis we have wind, but it usually isn't prolonged and it involves some tree branch coming off a tree. What we do have are floods which can last for weeks adding a prolonged stress aspect.
St. Louis is at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. These 2 rivers carry the melted winter snow from the north which can cause flooding around April. Our cities and towns have built levee walls to protect them from the raging waters. One unfortunate aspect is that the levee systems create a channel forcing the waters down stream looking for somewhere to break loose.
In 1993 a number of environmental factors came together and caused a 500 year flood. The effects were felt from at least as far west as Kansas City (Missouri River) and farther south along the Mississippi. The peak discharge in August 1993 was measured
at 485 million gallons per minute or 1,080,000 cubic feet per second—a rate sufficient to fill the old Busch Stadium about every 65 seconds.
Mom works at a manufacturing facility along the river just north of the Arch. There was a sand boil at the north property edge. Sand boils occur when water under pressure wells up through a bed of sand. The water looks like it is "boiling" up from the bed of sand, hence the name. (Wikipedia) Pretty scary stuff. They estimated that if that didn't hold (remember this was over 144 days!), the water would flow at least 2 miles inward from the levee and affect the ENTIRE city along the riverfront.
Obviously, the Great Flood of 1993 is something the residents of Missouri will never forget. However, we are greatful for the lives we were able to save, and the lives we have struggled to maintain and improve. That is the take home message - adversity is the brain child of perseverence.
Now, don't get mom started on the New Madrid Fault and the earthquake that will affect all of the Midwest!
Here are some pictures to give you perspective.
The Arch looking north under normal conditions. You can see Eads Bridge.
Eads Bridge, Flood 1993
Eads Bridge, 1993. Note the statue barely above the waters.
Eads Bridge in the winter. Note the statue in full.