A wall of water washed over the small riverside city of Gulfport, Illinois, when at least two levees on the flooded Mississippi River burst on June 18, 2008, reported CNN. Only treetops and a few roofs were visible above the surface of the blue-green water two days later on June 20, when the commercial satellite Ikonos captured this detailed photo-like image.
U.S. Highway 34 remains above the water level in this section of the image, but the exit ramps into the city descend into the flood. In the large image, which shows a wider area, the highway itself is also submerged east of the city center. U.S. 34 crosses the Mississippi over the Great River Bridge (lower left). The bridge connects Gulfport with the city of Burlington, Iowa, which does not appear to have shared Gulfport’s fate.
The Mississippi River is muddy brown, full of sediment from runoff upstream, and capped with white from turbulence. The levee that protects Gulfport runs along the river behind a line of trees. (The sections of the levees that failed are not in the scene.) Gulfport is one of many riverside towns that flooded in mid-June. Floods washed across Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri in the wake of heavy spring rains.
- Mattingly, D. (2008, June 24). Insurance not required, FEMA told flooded town. CNN. Accessed June 25, 2008.