Flood 2019: On to the cleanup and recovery

The Flood of 2019 broke records and hearts.

It will not be remembered for how high the river rose, although it did get plenty high, cresting at 46.29, the fifth highest on record. It won't be remembered like the 2011 flood, which required the detonation of a levee and the destruction of homes and farmland.

It will be remembered for its longevity and its crippling of traffic to and from Missouri.

If the river drops below flood stage on Friday as expected, it will have been 143 consecutive days above flood stage, shattering the old record of 125 days set in 1993.

On Monday, finally, after weeks and in some sections months of closure, Routes 3 and 146 were re-opened from Missouri to Anna, Illinois, the route to Interstate 57 and Interstate 24.

The endurance of this flood is what created the nightmare. It wasn't river water that shut down the highways; it was the seepwater. The water simply saturated the soil so much, that the flow punched through the surface behind the levees. It forced commuters to wade through the water to parked cars at the Emerson Bridge. It forced people out of their homes for weeks, some finding relatives or camp grounds.

For some, it meant being stranded in their homes, particularly for elderly who couldn't get out and wade through the water.

Water reached places it never has, and many victims will face some tough choices, as have thousands before them, of whether to repair or move on.

Each major flood teaches new lessons. We hope this one sparks new interest in the highways in Illinois, and whether raising the roads again, or even building a new east-west corridor to the bridge makes sense. And remedies for removing seepwater should be looked at thoroughly as well.

We offer our sympathy to those who are still struggling with cleanup and fallout. It will take months to see whether the flood-weary people in East Cape Girardeau and McClure will be eligible for FEMA funding, and whether buyouts will be offered in places.

We offer our thanks to volunteers and the National Guard troops for their efforts to help the flood victims. Some of the Guardsmen had been here since June 22, helping sand-bag and manning pumps in East Cape Girardeau.

We are glad that the Flood of 2019 is over, and we hope the recovery goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. Godspeed to all those affected.