May 17, 2011

What changes since last fall in the Mississippi Valley

The view from the bluff in Vidalia, LA in November

It's been crazy watching the weather in the midwest recently, since we were in the region in much nicer times last fall. First came the amazing tornadoes and now the record flooding.

The RV park we stayed at is underwater lower right below those blue buildings

Back last November, we stayed several nights in Vidalia, LA right across the river from Natchez, MS. At the time, the Mississippi River was down near its normal low-water mark of the year. So, as we walked along the riverwalk, we were 50+ feet above the river level and wide sandy beaches were at the bottom of the bluffs.

The view fron Natchez across to Vidalia

But, as the Mississippi River Floods reaches record levels, the exact location where we were picking pecans and wanding along the levees is now underwater. The RV park we stayed at is that open area in the lower right of the image above. We walked the riverwalk up under the Natchez bridge past the convention center and hotel in the upper portion of the image.

The view of the convention center and hotel on the waterfront in Vidalia, LA

Here is another image of the flooded banks of the convention center and hotel. We were walking there a few months ago standing 50 feet above the river.

If the backup levees behind this waterfront park area were not to hold, then these low-lying extremely poor neighborhoods in Vidalia, LA would be flooded. As for the granduer of Natchez? Not to worry, it stands on a huge 200 foot bank. It was specifically built there to protect plantation owners from the river, while the cotton fields in the lower stretches flooded.

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