The problem had started months earlier. A rainy fall in 1992 led into a winter with above-average snow; when the rainy spring season started the ground was already saturated and the rain had nowhere to go. It kept raining through the summer, especially in Iowa to the north and South Dakota to the west. Our state wasn't spared the summer rain, either. In Kansas City they got more than six extra inches of rain in July, and We had about an inch more than average. Rivers started overflowing their banks, and the mess headed our way.
In July 1993 there were daily requests on the radio and TV stations for emergency volunteers. That summer my boys went to a camp several mornings each week. Whenever possible I'd drive to the closest sandbagging location after I dropped them off and put in a couple of hours helping out before it was time for them to come home. We also held a garage sale with another family and donated the proceeds to the Red Cross.
At the worst of the flooding some friends and I took our kids downtown to see the mess from the grounds of the Gateway Arch. It was awe-inspiring. The Arch sets high above the Mississippi, with a Grand Staircase on the east side of the grounds down to the river levee. There are 64 steps in the staircase. In 1993 the water rose halfway up them:
|They're not as close to the water as it looks|
Five years ago today: New Thing #199--Pet Theory