Remembering the Flood of ’93
Anyone living in communities up and down the Mississippi River in 1993 no doubt remembers the great flood that year like it was yesterday. Minor flooding occurs every spring along the river. It's happening now in some spots, but 1993 was a year none of us will ever forget.
Everyone has a story or 10 about that flood and what they went through... how it affected them. In that regard, I'm no different.
I was working at KGRC in 1993, doing the morning show, and at the time the station was located in Hannibal. I lived in Quincy. You can see how this would be inconvenient to say the least.
We had been following the flooding for weeks and weeks, just like everyone else. Reporting on it, giving updates about sandbagging efforts and the whole nine yards. That was our job and we were glad to do it. However, with the constant threat of levees breaking and bridges and roads being closed, it made for a lot of long days at work. Finally after a considerable amount of time of being on call, things started to look better. The river level started to go down and we all collectively breathed a small sigh of relief. Hopefully the long days were coming to an end soon.
Of course, just the opposite happened. My fiance at the time, and I, decided we'd take a much needed trip out of town to see a concert one evening, since things were looking better. I was in St. Louis on July 16 enjoying The Steve Miller Band when, at the shows end a man walked onto the stage and announced the West Quincy levee had broken. All of the sudden the road home was closed, I worked on one side of the river and she worked on the other and life had just gotten very complicated.
I spent the next two weeks in a hotel in Hannibal. After that I flew back and forth from Hannibal to Quincy each day for a while. Then I got up at 1:30 and 2am each morning to drive from Quincy to Hannibal through Keokuk, Iowa or Louisiana, Missouri. I'd get back home after work, worn out and with little time to be up before it was bedtime so I could do it all again the next day. The day the waters had gone down enough to open the bridges in Quincy again was one of the best days in a long, long time for anyone who needed to be on both sides of the river each day.
As hard and stressful as that spring and summer were for me, a lot of people had it much worse. I didn't lose my home or farmland, or livestock, or transportation, or thankfully any family or friends. My way of life didn't take a major punch to the gut or even end completely. Nevertheless, the flood of '93 will be a time I will never forget. I, along with so many others, hope and pray it never happens like that again... or worse.
It's been nearly 21 years since the flood went from 'getting better' to literally taking over many people's lives here in the tri-state area. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I would imagine the folks around here that went through that year are as strong as they are, in part, because of that fateful time in our lives. That kind of strength and resolve is part of what makes our little corner of the world such a good place to live.