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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Does the River ever flood?

 
 
Does the River ever flood? Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, January 17, 2012
1. Does the River ever flood? Marker
Inscription. Flooding, a long-feared natural phenomenon, is a very real concern throughout the region. Water has spilled from the banks of the Mississippi many time over the years, causing widespread fear and devastation. The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the area’s most devastating food event, prompted the implementation of numerous safety measures.

Arkansas was the hardest hit state with most of the flooding coming form tributaries to the Mississippi.

The Great Flood of 1927
The rain came in the summer of 1926 and they didn’t let up. By fall, the river’s swollen tributaries and become a great concern. In the spring, the Mississippi River broke out of its levee system in 145 places. Water up to 30 feet deep kills over 250 people in seven states. It flooded an area 50 miles wide and 100 miles long.

What is a levee?
A levee is a manmade structure built to prevent a river from overflowing its banks. In 1927, the river remained at flood stage for a record 153 days!

Bursting at the seams
During the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, area residents feared the worst. They tried to believe that the river’s levees would keep them safe, but unfortunately, many gave way. Water spilled across land, washing away nearly everything in its path. Startling stats about the flood of 1927

Does the River ever flood? Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, January 17, 2012
2. Does the River ever flood? Marker
• Over 60,000 people lost homes In the flood.
• The flood caused $400 millions in damages,-equivalent to approximately 5 billion dollars today.
• Arkansas farmers lost entire crops-over two million acres were underwater.
• In some places, the river was sixty miles wide.
• The Great Flood led to a change in attitudes about the government’s role in helping its citizens in time of crisis. People now looked to Washington for help.

During the Great Flood the levee was, the only dry spot.

How deep was the water?
Where you are standing is 15 feet above the ground. The water was up to 30 feet deep during the Great Flood.

Will it happen again?
Although levees, remain the keystone of the flood-control system, for the Mississippi and other rivers, after the Great Flood the Corps of Engineers yielded to pressure to include meander cutoffs, flood outlets, upstream reservoirs, and other measures. Even with those efforts, however, major floods have occurred on the Mississippi River in 1973 and 1993.
 
Location. 34° 31.467′ N, 90° 35.06′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker is on Elm Street. Touch for map. Marker is located along boardwalk in Helena River Park. Marker is in this post office area: Helena AR 72342, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Explore our Top Outdoor Destinations (here, next to this marker); The Mississippi River Defines Helena (here, next to this marker); River Birds (here, next to this marker); Those who have come before (here, next to this marker); The River Connects communities (here, next to this marker); The Helena Bridge (here, next to this marker); The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Helena (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); KFFA 1360 Helena (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
 
Also see . . .  Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States,[1] with 27,000 square miles (70,000 km2) inundated up to a depth of 30 feet (9 m). To try to prevent future floods, the federal government built the world's longest system of levees and floodways. (Submitted on September 1, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.) 
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsDisastersEnvironment

 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 4, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 1, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 1, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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