Fourteen years after the category five hurricane Katrina hit the southwest coast of the U.S., Mississippi and Louisiana prepared for the same devastating fate in what was to come this past Saturday in the form of Hurricane Barry. With the two states currently facing a long-running fight with this season’s flood stages, the anticipated damages from Barry were expected to be increasingly unbearable. While the storm proved to be less destructive than initially anticipated, it could have been much worse.
Audio: World of Agriculture
The flooding in Iowa and the rest of the Midwest has been a topic of discussion for a few months. One of those topics included the question, “What will happen when all that water reaches the Gulf Coast?”
Parts of the lower Mississippi River valley have been dealing with flooding since January of this year. Storms and a wet winter already left the delta inundated with water. This doesn’t even include all the water coming down from the heavy rains and snow melts of the upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions. Flooding along the Upper Mississippi River, the Missouri River, and the Ohio River has been catastrophic, and all this water eventually ends up heading towards the Gulf of Mexico. Before Hurricane Barry made landfall, there were already over 500,000 acres of flooded land in Mississippi and Louisiana.
As we said earlier, there can be some relief that Hurricane Barry didn’t do as much damage as expected. Once hitting the shore, the category one hurricane diminished quickly to a tropical storm and depression. However, there are still flood warnings as far north as southeastern Missouri. This includes the area where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi. Heavy rains fell on Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. However, widespread flooding and storm surges didn’t materialize.
While this does add strain on an already saturated delta region, we can maybe look at Hurricane Barry as the break we have been hoping Mother Nature would throw us. There is still water to move, and recovery to happen, and our prayers are with those affected.