The flood that affected a third of the United States during the summer of 1993 was the nation's worst, ranking as a once-in-300-years event. It severely tested national, state, and local systems for managing natural resources and for handling emergencies, illuminating both the strengths and weaknesses in existing methods of preparing for and dealing with massive prolonged flooding. Through detailed case studies, this volume diagnoses the social and economic impacts of the disaster, assessing how resource managers, flood forecasters, public institutions, the private sector, and millions of volunteers responded to it. The first comprehensive evaluation of the 1993 flood, this book examines the way in which floods are forecast and monitored, the effectiveness of existing recovery processes, and how the nation manages its floodplains. The volume concludes with recommendations for the future, in hope of better preparing the country for the next flood or other comparable disaster.
Preface -- Defining the Flood: A Chronology of Key Events -- The Weather that Led to the Flood -- A Hydroclimatological Assessment of the Rainfall -- The Flood's Hydrology -- Physical Effects: A Changed Landscape -- Ecosystem Effects: Positive and Negative Outcomes -- Impacts on Agricultural Production: Huge Financial Losses Lead to New Policies -- Impacts on Transportation Systems: Stalled Barges, Blocked Railroads, and Closed Highways -- Economic Impacts: Lost Income, Ripple Effects, and Recovery -- Living with the Flood: Human and Governmental Responses to Real and Symbolic Risk -- Effects of the Flood on National Policy: Some Achievements, Major Challenges Remain -- Losers and Winners: A Summary of the Flood's Impacts -- The Lessons from the Flood