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Editorial: The flood, a year later

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A year ago today, the Flood of 2011 really got started. Remember how much it rained? And how hard it rained? Like a midcontinental monsoon, Mother Nature unleashed her water torture on our part of the country. In a four-day stretch from April 22 to April 25, we received 10.81 inches of rain. For the month of April, we saw a record rainfall of 20.52 inches. Serious rain. Serious consequences.

What transpired over the weeks following was one of the greatest weather events in the last 100 years.

In the next few days in 2012 we will revisit the Great Flood of 2011.

It was a wild time in the news in late April and early May last year. For a while our flood was the top story in the country. But there were also deadly tornadoes in Alabama. Then came the death of Osama bin Laden.

Meanwhile, here, the rain just kept coming. When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pulled the plug on the earthen bowl known as the Birds Point floodway, it set off a whole new set of problems. The intentional breach displaced residents and disrupted the livelihoods of many farmers in the area. Those outside of the floodway were obviously affected, too. Who could forget the images of people dragging out their soaked belongings. One entire town, Pinhook, was displaced.

In the stories to come, we'll delve into the response and the decisions made to breach the levee at Birds Point. We'll talk to public officials who made other tough decisions, such as saving U.S. 60.

And, of course, we'll see where some of the flood victims have settled a year later.

The Flood of 2011 left its mark on Southeast Missouri. Here's to all of the victims who suffered losses. Here's hoping that the Birds Point levee is rebuilt to its original height before it is too late. Here's hoping that the levee won't have to be destroyed ever again.

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