Interview: 25 Years After The Great Flood of '93

Aug 23, 2018

This year marks the 25th anniversary of what was known as the Great Flood of 1993. State Climatologist Dr. Jim Angel covered the flood -- which affected Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. 

Angel said he hopes the '93 flood is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but he's not so sure based on weather patterns from the last several decades. "We've been moving towards wetter conditions across Illinois and the Midwest over the last century, so maybe we will see more events like these as we move forward," he said. 

Dr. Jim Angel is the the Illinois State Climatologist. He covered the Great Flood of 1993 -- which affected large areas of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.
Credit Illinois State Water Survey

Looking ahead, Angel said not only is it difficult to predict floods, but it is also hard to prevent damage or loss of life. He said the state is probably not prepared to deal with another one. "It would be really hard to prepare for something such as big as the '93 event," he said. "I think there are still issues we're wrestling with. And many of those issues involve levees, floodplains, and wetlands -- things like that."

Listen to the interview, where Angel also discussed the 30-year anniversary of the 1988 drought -- considered one of the worst droughts in recent history. "The good news is because we're trending towards wetter conditions, we're actually seeing fewer of the long-term droughts in Illinois," he said.

"The downside is that we're paying for it with the flooding side, where we're seeing more frequent flooding and more of these heavy rain events."