Friday, June 24, 2011
A flood-chaser's trek along the Missouri River


Stephanie Salvatore is taking a different kind of vacation.


Salvatore, a photojournalist from Santa Monica, California, had been hearing from her Midwestern family and friends for weeks about worsening flood conditions along the Missouri River. And so, rather than opting for a sandals-and-shorts summer destination, she packed a suitcase, shouldered her Canon and road-tripped out to the stretch of the Missouri River that threads through the verdant farmland of the Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska tri-state area.



She arrived in Sioux City, Iowa, on June 20 to find the town busy at work preparing for the predicted deluge. "The community came together to make sandbags and distribute to residents and businesses at risk," she said of the above photo. The residents of Sioux City were leaving nothing to chance, despite assurances that the area's levees are expected to stanch any further flooding.



Salvatore soon realized that their concern was completely warranted. The next day, she hiked to the top of the city's historic Prospect Hill, and saw nearby Chris Larsen Park completely submerged. It was one of several low-lying areas in Sioux City to already be swallowed up by relentless floodwaters. Thankfully, Sioux City residents are safe from the waterborne illnesses that sometimes follow: "I spoke with the Iowa Director of the USGS [U.S. Geological Survey] and he mentioned this is a 'clean water flood,'" she explained.



She then set out for the Gavins Point Dam in Yankton, South Dakota, where the Army Corps of Engineers has been steadily opening the structure's floodgates for several days. The engineers hope to prevent further flooding in upriver areas like Kansas City, Missouri. "They are out on the river 12 to 14 times weekly between Gavins Point and Sioux City, taking samples/measurements," Salvatore said.


And Salvatore is going with them: "I plan to acquire additional details on the levels, water quality, and will be capturing images as well," she said. How's that for a summer break?


If you've been chronicling the flooding along the Missouri River like Salvatore, we want to hear about it: Share your story with iReport.

June 24, 2011
Click to view ehinmero's profile

the world is fast changing.

June 25, 2011
Click to view cmncentsvet's profile

i am always awed by the sheer magnitude of mother nature sometimes.  but i wonder how much of these damages culd have been mitigated?  there are a LOT of dams on these rivers (like near Minot, SD) and 'recreational lakes' behind them.  those lakes are almost ALWAYS filled to capacity to maximize the usaage for boaters, floaters, vacationers - all in the name of the mighty buck, err, recreation.  then when the seasonal snow melts - there is no place for the water to go, and they can't release the water quick enough!


the solution?


(1)  do NOT build in the flood plain, no exceptions.


(2)  'man made lakes' from dams should not exceed 70% of their capacity EVER - that way there is room for rainfall and snow melt.  recreation and boating is nice - but the main purpose of dams is flood control and power generation.


(3) when the rains come and snow starts to melt, before the dam has a chance to swell, the Army Corps of Engineers can open the gates to raise the level of the water below TO flood stage (not higher unless absolutely neccessary), that way the river downstream doesn't swell past flood stage - and if rule (1) is followed - no damages because no one is living in the flood zone - and the dam does its job of flood control.  However, if the lake level is kept at that 70% level and the projections for rain and snow melt don't exceed projections, then they don't have to raise the river level at all.



June 25, 2011
Click to view slyobserver's profile

cmncentsvet, can you run for president?

June 25, 2011
Click to view Vegasrage's profile

The Missouri and Mississippi are not to be trifled with, deep, fast, and as relentless as an oceans undertow.

June 25, 2011
Click to view gn7465's profile

Either CNN has piss-poor writers or doesn't own a map.  Releasing water in South Dakota won't prevent floods in Kansas City. 


Good grief.

June 25, 2011
Click to view Krispherein's profile

cmncentsvet, it's just not that simple. I agree with your sentiment but the dam issue is much more complicated than that.


gn7465, perhaps you should take a look at a map. Kansas City is downriver from Sioux City (SD).Gavins Pt Dam is the last dam on the river before Kansas City. Therefore, if that dam is not able to reduce the amount of water flow in the river, then the river might flood in KC.

June 25, 2011
Click to view NebraskaGuy's profile

Selling dams for recreation is a lie! cmncentsvet is right! Look at what happened in Cedar Rapids, Iowa last year! Dams were built for flood protection (recreation) all of them were topped and Cedar Rapids was almost destroyed! Now, I read the Nebraska Legislature approved $3Billion so the Natural Resource District can build dams in Omaha! The money was granted because the dams were presented as preventing floods! Dams hold water for recreation. When the water (rain or snow melt) comes, the dams are topped. Flooding takes place. Omaha will make Minot look like a small event when 460,000 people are below these dams!    

June 28, 2011
Click to view jbilindad's profile

I hope what happened in the Tsunami in Japan will not repeat itself here in America because the flood is getting out of hand.Besides the America Engineers need to be observants because today is Flood tommorow is hurricane and the next may be Earth Quake.They should be alert at all times.

July 18, 2011
Click to view Riera's profile

HI Cnn i'm in wrong post...



Never say about Corinthians !










CORINTHIANS  world cup Chanpion 2000... A First!!!!








son of bitch!

August 2, 2011
Click to view dd4fugl's profile



     My name is Whitley Davis and I am a current resident of Southeastern Kentucky. My whole family and many other families here in Kentucky have been in coal mining for generations. Many families throughout Southeastern Kentucky have relied on the coal industry here for generations to feed and support their families. All of our communities and economics here have relied on the coal industry to maintain our towns and way of life. Now that way of life and our economy has almost been destroyed by our own government.


     The  Federal Government developed and funds a program called M.S.H.A. which stands for Mine Health and Safety Administration. Since the start of this government program this organization has single handedly been responsible for destroying the coal industry in Southeastern Kentucky and destroying our economic well-being. Hundreds of jobs have been lost and communities reduced to nothing all because of  MSHA and their tyranny and abuse of power.


     My family has owned and operated independent coal mines here for two generations. We have kept hundreds of families in counties such as Bell county and Harlan county employed for all of these years. Now in 2011 hundreds of jobs in both counties have been lost due to the relentless abuse of  our own government program called MSHA. How could our own government destroy hundreds of jobs and do so much damage to our economy? How could our own government take food off of American family tables and greatly jeopardize the roof over thousands of children’s  heads? Yet our own President, Barrack Obama, preaches to us on a daily basis on how we need to create more jobs and rebuild our economy! Yet at the same time that he is giving his speech, the very same government is destroying the economy through programs like MSHA! I don’t understand the theoretic behind all of this. I don’t understand why we need MSHA at all. Kentucky already has a state  inspection board. That’s all we need. That is how it was before MSHA and every thing was fine. Just a prime example of our government have to have their fingers in everything! Government, in my opinion, has become way to large and spends way too much money on programs like MSHA. They do nothing but destroy our way of life and drive up the national debt which in turn is destroying our entire country economically.


     Bell county and Harlan county pay the highest coal severance taxes in Kentucky and yet our communities still struggle to have descent roads, businesses ect… come into our cities and towns. Hundreds of families have moved out of these counties because of  MSHA  and the abuse of power that it has enforced on these small independent coal companies.  Men and women  in their thirties, forties, and fifties have all had to move to locations outside of Southeastern Kentucky with their families and start a whole new career. They have had to start over again and learn a whole new way to make a living when at one point in time they were making a good living doing what they knew in the coal industry. And all because of MSHA.


     Now in this day and age towns here are dying, all kinds of businesses are failing, and hundreds are broke and unemployed. MSHA has destroyed  the coal industry here which in turn is having a very large, negative adverse effect on our entire economy and small businesses. Everyone and every business in these communities are struggling to make ends meet. They do not know when, where, or how  their next paycheck will be received or if they will have one at all. These are very hard times and our own government is only making it worse by allowing agencies like MSHA to operate. MSHA needs to be abolished and our economy and way of life here needs to be restored. This will only happen if there is no more MSHA! If our government really wants to cut, cap, and balance and help our economy then MSHA and other programs like it need to be abolished. How can you reduce the national debt and have national economic recovery if government organizations like MSHA are single handedly destroying it?



Yours truly,


A very concerned American 


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