Is the Deluge in Iowa Worse than It Needed to Be?

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This weekend's newscasts and front pages were full of pictures dramatizing the damage from record rainfall and massive flooding, especially in Iowa. The area covered is smaller than it was in 1993--the worst such period in living memory, but the damage could end up being even worse. Midwestern farming has been a bright spot in a declining economy, but record rainfall and massive flooding are turning success into disaster. Widespread development on natural floodplains leaves less land to soak up excess water, which leads to big trouble downstream. When the levees are over-topped, those new developments are threatened with inundation. Have local and federal officials failed to learn the lessons of flooding in decades past? What will that mean in the future?



  • Jim Keeney - Weather Program Manager, National Weather Service Central Region Headquarters
  • Ernie Goss - Professor of Economics, Creighton University
  • Tim Kusky - Director of the Center for Environmental Sciences, Saint Louis University
  • Eric Halpin - Special Assistant for Dam and Levee Safety, US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Larry Larson - Executive Director, Association of State Floodplain Managers


Warren Olney