The Midwest Floods of 2019

Preparing for the Worst by Learning from the Past

Spring flooding in the Midwest has caused incredible damage to cities, towns, and agriculture, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimating $37.3 billion in damages. The catastrophic floods in the Midwest and Plains states, reminds us of the Great Flood of 1927 and 1993. But we’ve learned that it’s the conditions and preparation that precede the flooding that determine how much damage will go unstopped.

Potential causes of massive flooding:
  • Snowpack and frost
  • Moisture level in soil
  • Streamflow and precipitation

These factors are all potential contributors to flooding. Precipitation in seven of nine Plains and Midwest states during fall of 2018 outweighed precipitation during fall of 1992. Similarly, eight of nine Plains and Midwest states had a wetter winter during 2018 and 2019 than in 1992 and 1993.

As the soil becomes saturated, it has trouble absorbing heavy rainfall, causing runoff into creeks and rivers.  As the rivers fill up, the potential catastrophic floods increase.

In 1993, a cluster of large thunderstorms, known to meteorologists as mesoscale convective systems, dropped an incredible amount of rain on the Midwest and Plain states. Conditions for rainfall like this most often depend on air temperature.

Surviving a Flood

Three lives have been lost due to the flooding in the Midwest this year, according to NOAA’s weather and climate disaster table of events. The Department of Homeland Security has tips for facing floods natural disasters.
  • Always evacuate if you are told to
  • Don’t drive around barricades
  • Stay off bridges
  • Avoid contact with flood water
  • Move to higher ground
The time to prepare for a flood is now. Know the flood risks in your area, make a plan, and subscribe to your community’s emergency warning system. Learn evacuation routes and plan ahead to protect your home and businesses.

Proven Solutions When Stormwaters Rise

According to NOAA , while states in the upper Mississippi and Missouri River basins (Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa), are at risk of flooding, states in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River and portions of California and Nevada are also at risk of minor floods.

Landslides, erosion, and overflow of water systems are all potential effects of large-scale flooding. Sediment left behind as a result of flood waters, reduces water quality affecting the water supply.
Flood waters can also contain debris and nutrients, which can affect the water quality, encouraging the growth of algae.

Controlling sediment dispersion with a turbidity curtain helps to control erosion, blocking sediment and protecting wildlife and surrounding vegetation. Curtains like this are used to keep bodies of water silt free and keeping the quality of water high.

Sandbags are a great way to limit the effects of flood waters at your home or business on a small scale. Made with either a high UV or burlap material, this material contains sand while limiting the flow of water. Water control bags like these are easy to move to areas in need. To inhibit the effects of flood, stack bags parallel to the flow with the top end of the bad folded under.

The Automatic Multibagger sanbag filling machine can fill three sandbags simultaneously. The machine is operated by three people, each at a filling station. Each operator fills a bag at one of the three chutes, releasing materials by depressing the foot pedal and stopping the flow of materials by releasing the pedal. The automatic sandbag machine can fill one bag every 10 seconds.

Using a flood barrier protection wall can save money and effort when preparing for a flood:
  • Saves money:  Using a barrier during flash flooding, storm surge, or mudslide, offers a large scale alternative to sandbags. 
  • Eliminates worry: Using self-erecting barriers can save time and worry when a storm threatens. Installation simply requires you unfold the barrier and fill. 
  • Utilizes space: The barrier can be used to divert stormwater around property, along a riverbank or slope. Space is often a commodity. With a flood barrier protection wall, one 100 foot section is equal to 8,000 sandbags. Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers offer another large scale solution to mitigating flood waters. 
Features of a bulk bag include either polypropylene-coated or uncoated fabric. Coated bulk bags inhibit moisture and prevent content shifting. Uncoated bags offer more flexibility. When preventing erosion, an uncoated bulk bag would be used for filtration.

Needs can vary when protecting your home or business from the effects of flood water. Contact GEI Works at +1-772-646-0597 to receive one-on-one assistance with all your flood prevention requirements.