Jan 8, 2016

Missouri residents pack up and leave as once-rare floods become the new normal

Arnold, MO
USA
by
Oliver Milman
,
The Guardian
Damon Thorne poses for a photograph with items salvaged from his home, flooded last week by water from the nearby Meramec River, in a trailer park near Arnold, Missouri. Photo: Sid Hastings, The Guardian
Damon Thorne poses for a photograph with items salvaged from his home, flooded last week by water from the nearby Meramec River, in a trailer park near Arnold, Missouri. Photo: Sid Hastings, The Guardian

William Richter is the mayor of a town he cannot reach. West Alton’s 525 people were evacuated due to deadly floods that caused the nearby Mississippi river to surge to 38ft high – a good 17ft above the flood level. Both roads into the town are still cut off...

Richter thinks West Alton will lose around 20% of its population as residents decide to pack up and leave. It’s happened before – following widespread floods in 1993 the town’s population dropped by two-thirds...

In the past eight years, there have been three major flooding events on the Mississippi. The definition of what is considered a rare or freak flood is being stretched. Some residents feel their clean-ups are becoming a little too routine.