Welcome to the wettest May on record, followed by a historically wet June. The rain just keeps coming.Recent rampant rainfall has left farmers and others thinking about the Great Flood of 1993 and wondering – is this another case of history repeating itself?
If this year’s flooding approaches the damage the flood of 1993, that’s cause for legitimate concern. The 1993 flood had a 30,000-mile footprint and caused $15 billion in damages.
However, as Kyle Tapley, senior agricultural meteorologist for MDA Weather Services, points out, there are three distinct factors that set 2015 and 1993 apart.
1. The soils didn’t start out as saturated this year.
“In 1993, unlike this year, soils were already saturated when heavier rains developed in late spring and summer due to above-normal precipitation during the winter and early spring months,” Tapley says. “This allowed flooding to occur more easily in 1993 and set the stage for historic flooding and crop damage later in the season.”
2. The location and duration of the heaviest rainfall is different.
In 1993, the heaviest rainfall was in the western Midwest in May, which continued all the way into August, Tapley says.
“This year, the heaviest rains favored the Plains in May and then shifted into the southern Midwest in June,” he says.
3. The amount of corn and soybean acres impacted was much larger in 1993.
The footprint of the 1993 flood touched nearly the entire western half of the Corn Belt, Tapley says. That’s not to diminish this year’s flooding, but the impact isn’t as quite as extensive as it was in 1993, he says. Currently, the areas facing the worst of the flooding includes Missouri, southern Illinois and southern Indiana.
“We expect above normal rainfall across the southern Midwest in July and August, but the rainfall is not expected to reach the extreme levels seen in 1993,” he says.
On Twitter, several meteorologists and others have thrown out some quick comparisons between 1993 and 2015. Here are a few highlights.
How has flooding impacted your farm? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or on this AgWeb discussion thread.