Flooding – June 5, 2019

For the past few days, we’ve been on the road in the Midwest with the Summits, Songs and Science project. While on the way to get Iowa’s highpoint, driving from Chicago to the northwest corner of Iowa, we crossed the Mississippi River and, driving along the highway, we saw lots of evidence of flooding (photos by Ricardo).

Since March, heavy rains in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and other states have led the Mississippi River and other waterways to overflow, with the Mississippi cresting at more than 21 feet (!) in one Iowa city on Sunday (June 2, 2019) — the second highest level since historic flooding in 1993 decimated farms, homes, and whole towns.

“Overall, it’s climate change,” says Donald Wuebbles, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “We expect an increase in total precipitation in the Midwest, especially in winter and spring, with more coming as larger events.”

Flooded homes, displaced people, soggy fields….what else gets impacted? Crops. This is a very serious blow to farmers… and to the consumers – us – who rely on the crops for food. The really sad part? We’re doing it to ourselves. We need to act now before climate change impacts like these become irreversible.

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