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Remembering the Great Flood of ’93 a quarter-century later

ST. LOUIS – The Great Flood of ’93 arrived in St. Louis 25 years ago Wednesday.

The Mississippi River topped flood stage and the river stayed above flood stage at St. Louis for 147 days. The river crested at St. Louis at 49.58 feet, the highest ever recorded.

The flood swamped parts of St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, and other areas, chasing people from their homes along the Mississippi, Missouri, and other rivers. The flood caused billions of dollars in damage throughout the Midwest and the rain just kept coming all summer.

It was uniquely extreme weather conditions that bombarded the Midwest with voluminous amounts of rainfall for most of the summer.

The weather circumstances that led to the flood actually began in 1992.

"The process started back in November of 1992, that's a point that everybody seems to forget. It built and it built and it built, with unbelievable rains up across Iowa and northern Illinois,” said Dave Murray, Fox 2 Chief Meteorologist. “So you had the snow melt, then in the spring we started to get into heavy rains, so the heavy rains with the snow melt continued that build-up and it was thunderstorms…days of rain.”

An Army of Corps of Engineers official said at the time the river would go wherever it wants to go, no matter how much we try to control it. The power of the Mississippi River forever changed the landscape. Two cities—Valmeyer, Illinois and Rhineland, Missouri—had to move from lowland to higher ground, rebuilding the cities on top of bluffs. Other cities, like Chesterfield and Ste. Genevieve, built higher levees.