In the winter of 1926-27 the rains were so heavy that on the tributaries of the Mississippi the water had overflowed the banks, causing floods to the west in Oklahoma and Kansas, to the east in Illinois and Kentucky.
On Good Friday, April 15, 1927, the Memphis Commercial Appeal warned: “The roaring Mississippi River, bank and levee full from St. Louis to New Orleans, is believed to be on its mightiest rampage…All along the Mississippi considerable fear is felt over the prospects for the greatest flood in history.”
That Good Friday morning, the rains came, setting all-time records for their breadth and intensity. They came down over several hundred thousand square miles, covering much or all of the states of Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana.
In New Orleans in 18 hours there were 15 inches of rain—the greatest ever known there. The river swelled so high and flowed so fast that in Berry’s woods, for the residents along the river, ” It was like facing an angry, dark ocean.”
Last year (2011) was a great reminder of just how small we can be with floods across Missouri and the Midwest and a tragic tornado destroying much of Joplin. Nature always wins. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later, but always the river will make its own route to the Gulf of Mexico. Yet, we always rebuild.