Fox Files – Covering the Flood of ’93

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - It seemed like we spent the summer in boats and helicopters covering the Great Flood of 93. And what a summer it was. The flood had all the elements of a big news event, dramatic pictures, strong emotions, compelling stories of epic struggles against mother nature, struggles to save towns and homes and property.

There were victories and losses. Many heroes and a few villains. Here are just a few of my personal memories. My photographer, Walt Williamson and I were in a Jon boat on the flooded Mississippi, covering the flooding in Portage Des Sioux, when we got caught in a bad storm. We got drenched but made it safely to shore.

I remember Highway 40 looking like a boat ramp as it disappeared into the flooded Chesterfield Valley, water up the roofs of familiar businesses, flying over St. Charles county and seeing thousands of acres of brown water instead of crops. The huge amount of water flowing past the riverfront day after day after day. The vice-president visiting the devastated areas of Lemay. The Corps of Engineers blowing out the Mississippi River levee just above Prairie du Rocher, diverting floodwater coming down from Valmeyer back into the Mississippi and away from the town. The incredible sandbag efforts in Ste. Genevieve to save the town and it's collection of centuries-old French colonial buildings.

What a summer, what a story! Please share your story of the flood of '93 in the comments section.

Memories of covering the flood of '93 from FOX 2 anchors and reporters:

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I can vividly remember the night the monarch levy broke in Chesterfield Valley. I was anchoring with Dick Ford and Dave Murray. Suddenly Dave got an urgent flash flood warning on his weather computer. He read it live on the air. We knew the flood was serious but THIS type of flooding had never happened. We watched live as our helicopter hovered over Spirit Airport as a plane raced to take off, the water pouring over the runway as it took flight. It was truly unbelievable to see water engulfing this hub of commerce and covering Highway 40 in the valley. Throughout the flood, we all worked seven days a week and stayed on the air hours on end. We all knew it was an historic moment we would hopefully only experience once in our lifetime. I was honored to have been in St. Louis and in the middle of it all.

- Mandy Murphey

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While working at KTVI, I was pregnant with my daughter Allex throughout the Spring and Summer...Due July 21st, 1993...

There was such a dire need for more news coverage from a local and network level, I was asked to help with reporting on this historic flood. As you can imagine, my Doctor said no...and said "I can just picture you 8 1/2 months pregnant in hip waders standing in flood waters."

While I was not afforded the opportunity to be involved in this historic news coverage, I delivered my daughter on the predicted due date, and watched the amazing news coverage on KTVI while on maternity leave.

I gained a new respect for my colleagues, some of whom I still work with today, who shined while being a part of history.

I saved the front page of the Post-Dispatch the day Allex was born, as well as some video clips from KTVI's coverage on July 21st 1993...to let her know and see that she was born in St. Louis during a once-in-a-lifetime event!

- Randi Naughton

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Twenty years after the Great Flood of ’93, many of the small details have faded from memory. But what abides in my mind is how people who had nothing to lose came to the rescue of strangers who stood to lose everything. The Mississippi is mighty, but when we put our minds to it and our backs into it, we are mightier.

- Paul Schankman

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I remember the smell of the water like it was yesterday. The day I-64 shutdown from flooding was also something I'll never forget. I remember how many sandbaggers came to St. Louis from out of town to help. I also remember the cans of water Anheuser Busch donated. I kept one of those cans as a reminder of how big the problem was and how much help was available.

- Jeff Bernthal

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This is actually a picture of me holding my infant sister at the riverfront by the Arch in 1993. My sister is 20yrs old now, and I was 14 at the time. I scanned this picture several years ago because of how cool this was to witness, the water all the way up the stairs.

-Kurt LaBelle

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