Iowa History Daily: On July 10, 1993, floodwaters cascaded down the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers as more rain poured from the skies, inundating Iowa’s capital city in what came to be known as the Great Flood of 1993. As Court Avenue slipped underwater during the late evening, the Polk County Sheriff’s Department alerted residents that extreme flooding around the Des Moines Water Works would cut off the city’s water supply in the coming hours.
The wettest November through June ever recorded in Iowa, over four feet of rain fell in some locations across the upper Midwest as 1992 turned to 1993. The waters inundated rivers and reservoirs across the region. Early July saw steady and significant rains flood overrun the emergency spillway on Saylorville Lake and rushing waters wreak havoc on the Iowa State University Campus.
On July 10 the Raccoon crested above 23’. Overnight the raging river topped the levee at the Des Moines Water Works, and over 250,000 Des Moines residents lost access to clean water. By July 11 the Des Moines River below the Raccoon confluence hit 34.39’, and the city reeled as over 40,000 citizens lost access to power as the rising waters swallowed substations. The flood forced over 10,000 area residents from their homes, and over 21,000 homes sustained significant damage.
A significant flood well beyond the bounds of Des Moines, the federal government declared the entire state a disaster area. Sections of Interstate 80 and Interstate 35 closed, and the Missouri and Mississippi rivers closed to barge traffic for months. In all, over 320,000 saw over $15 billion in damage, and at least 50 people died. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar