Study: flood systems on Midwestern rivers inadequate, based on miscalculations

[Caption/Credit for photo: A Washington University geology professor says predictions of how high a 100-year flood event on some Midwestern rivers can be are off, leaving cities, towns, and farms along those rivers in danger. (photo courtesy; Missouri Department of Transportation)]

A researcher at Washington University in St. Louis says the flood control systems along the Missouri, Mississippi, and other rivers in the Midwest are based on flood height estimates that are too low.

Geology Professor Robert Criss says that miscalculation means federal agencies are underestimating how high a 100-year flood on those rivers can be. A flood that reaches even a few inches above the top of a 100-year levee could cause a major breach in a flood control system, says Criss.

He says the formulas used to predict how high 100-year events could get assume conditions are the same as they were decades ago when there were fewer man-made structures along the rivers and global weather patterns weren’t changing.

Written by Mike Lear
Full report at Missourinet

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