Needed and wanted, continuously used,
With me on there side, they never can lose.
Providing electricity, creating technology, putting food on the table,
I continue to advance them in every way that I’m able.
I travel nearly 2350 miles, yet I want to do more,
A plan to expand as the rain continues to pour.
Oh 1927, this is my year,
I will give them my full effort, pleasing the far and the near.
27,000 square miles inundated up to a depth of 30 feet.
My all I gave, breaking through the concrete.
Instantly called deadly and destructive, I don’t understand.
Responses of anger and sorrow was not what I planned.
Confusion overtakes me as they swim through their own tears.
Trying to give more only made their world disappear.
Needed and wanted, continuously used,
Where once I was loved, now they say I abused.
Edwardsville – On April 3, 2019, the Mississippi River hit its crest in the St. Louis area. The level of the crest was recorded at 38.4 feet, substantially above the 30 ft. flood level. Locally, flood levels varied. This was one of the highest flood crests in recent memory for residents of St. Louis and the surrounding area. A very heavy, wet winter in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin was noted through the end of 2018 and into the early months of 2019. Experts warned of a potential “historic” flood in different parts of the Upper Mississippi region. By the middle of March, the Missouri River began to experience record flood levels itself. Nebraska, Iowa, and other areas along banks of the Missouri faced heavy tolls as the natural waterway roared through. Ultimately, the Missouri River feeds into the Mississippi, setting up for the chance of devastating floods in the St. Louis area. At this point, the crests of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers have lowered, though the possibility of a wet May could lead to more flooding.
The wet spring and high floodwaters in 2019 had several impacts of note in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Due to the conditions, the St. Louis Cardinals were forced to push back their Opening Day ceremonies one day, playing the San Diego Padres on Friday, April 5, rather than Thursday, April 4. Also, the flooding in the first couple weeks of April closed Sullivan Blvd. temporarily, allowing visitors to observe the high waters from atop the levees.
To date, the flooding has been held in check by the Army Corps of Engineers and the levee system in the St. Louis area. However, of the ten highest floods in recorded history, eight have come in the most recent decade. Floods continue to arise with more force each year, making the argument that climate change has affected the river. It is our hope as a 2019 Honors class that people come to recognize that nature will eventually run its course, and we cannot stop it. The flooding that has taken place this spring may not have been catastrophic, but in the future, it surely will be.
Susie Schmitt Schaefer Oral History Interview
Abbie Schaefer, Interviewer
April 29, 2019
Glen Carbon, Illinois
Abbie Schaefer: Can you tell me your full name and where you grew up?
Susie Schaefer: Susie Schmitt Schaefer. And I grew up in Red Bud, Illinois.
AS: Okay. Um, where were you during the flood of 1993?
SS: I was living in Red Bud, Illinois, and I had friends that lived in the Chesterfield–excuse me, Chester, Illinois and Prairie du Rocher area, so I was over in those areas a lot.
AS: Okay. And then what happened? Like, do you remember, was it raining a lot? Or–
SS: What was my experience during the flood?
AS: Yeah. [laughs]
SS: Actually, I was very interested in it, so, and nervous about it, frankly, so I did a lot of driving around in our area, um, and would go up to the Mississippi River areas to see how it was progressing. Because it was of great concern to everyone, um, that had farmland, um, and areas that just had, uh, high levels of water in them, so. We were keeping ourselves educated and aware to maintain safety, and, frankly, just were very interested in it. Um, there were a number of occasions that I was, frankly, just terrified by how high the water had gotten in the areas. Uh, I went to high school with a lot of people that lived in the Valmeyer area, and, um, you know, we all know what happened there with the entire town being washed away. I had three different high school friends that lived there during that time, and so that was quite terrifying, um, how they evacuated them and they lost everything. Um, the Chester area, we went down–because I had a very good friend of mine who, uh, lived there, and their home was in an area that often had flooding, and so we had to go down and get all of their clothes and items out of the house as quickly as possible. Everyone had been cleared from the town already, …