Deadly Midwest Flooding Ruined Harvests, Compromised Water Quality… and It Isn’t Over by a Long Shot

The Mississippi and Missouri rivers are the two longest rivers in the United States. If you put them together, they’d run for more than 4,500 miles.

Both can be beautiful to view. But because of the volume of water both these mighty rivers contain, they can be deadly and destructive as well.

Especially when excessive amounts of rainfall are added. Recent rainstorms and snowmelt have made both rivers flood. And the outcome has been devastating.

This historic flooding has taken the lives of many people and livestock. It’s damaged a lot of property and forced evacuations. And the flooding may be a long way from over.

Outlook Isn’t Good

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a spring outlook. It has many people worried.

The outlook calls for nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states to face an elevated risk of flooding. All the way through May.

As well as the potential for moderate to major flooding in specific areas. They are the Great Plains, the Midwest and down through the Mississippi River Valley.

The main culprits are rain and dramatic warm-ups in temperatures resulting in rapid snowmelt. The recent bomb cyclone also contributed.

‘Unprecedented Flood Season’

Ed Clark is the director of NOAA’s National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Here’s what he says about this serious situation.

“This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season,” he said. “With more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities.

“The extensive flooding we’ve seen… will continue through May. And become more dire. And may be exacerbated in the coming weeks as the water flows downstream.”

Mary Erickson is the deputy director of the National Weather Service. She says this year’s flooding could be worse than the historic floods of 1993 and 2011.

Farmers Drowning in Losses

Particularly hard hit have been farmers in states such as Iowa and Nebraska. Floodwaters destroyed much of last year’s stored harvest, as well as livestock.

Crops exposed to flood waters are not safe for consumption. They cannot be reconditioned, and the FDA considers them unfit for human consumption that cannot enter the food chain.

At one farm in Nebraska, some 700 hogs were drowned. An Iowa farmer said he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in a ruined harvest.

Pete Ricketts is the governor of Nebraska. He called the tragedy the “most widespread disaster we have had in our state’s history.”

Struggles Are Intensifying

President Donald Trump declared a major disaster for counties in Iowa and Nebraska. That made federal recovery assistance available immediately.

Still, a farmer in southwestern Iowa made a bleak prediction. He estimated that 50 percent of the farmers in his area will not be able to recover.

A spokesperson for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture added this. There is at least $400 million in damages to crops and another $400 million in lost livestock.

Even before the flooding, many Midwestern framers were struggling. Farm bankruptcies were up nearly 20 percent in 2018 from the previous year.

Drinking Water Compromised

In Missouri, record flooding along the Missouri River has compromised drinking water quality.

Broken pumps were discovered at a submerged wastewater treatment plant in Leavenworth, Kansas. It’s about 30 miles upstream of Kansas City.

A public health advisory was issued in Kansas City. Concerns were mainly for infants, the elderly and those with weak immune systems.

Area residents said their water tasted different from normal. They were asked by the public water utility to conserve water. Especially while workers attempt to treat the water for impurities.

Potential Uptick in Food Prices

Not only has the flooding caused a major disruption in water quality concerns in the Midwest, but it could potentially create further problems in the U.S. food distribution.

According to USA Today, beef at supermarkets could potentially raise 25 to 50 cents per pound. And pork even up to $1.

The impact on grain items though will be much more subdued with a mere 2.5 cent increase.

Analyst Phil Flynn, from Price Futures Group had this to say: “You’re going to see it on meat prices this summer being higher. Cheerios? Not so much. If the bad weather continues or the flooding continues, all bets are off.”

Get Ready for the New Normal

Folks, I’m afraid we’ve entered the new normal. Extreme weather used to occur only occasionally.

Now, it’s becoming a weekly occurrence. From hurricanes and tornadoes to wildfires and flooding. From blizzards to bomb cyclones… violent weather always seems to be right on our doorsteps.

As we always preach here at 4Patriots, the key is to be as prepared as possible. Extreme weather is unfortunately a fact of life these days.

Be prepared to take care of your family and yourself. That’s the only way to face the wrath of Mother Nature with peace of mind.

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