Just this past summer (2011), the Mississippi river flooded as a result of record amounts of rainfall and caused a substantial amount of damage, which estimated to cost nearly $4 billion. The flooding devastated farmlands and surrounding cities, accounting for the losses of catfish and grain farms and casinos. One farm fell victim to the Mississippi River when 10,000 acres was flooded due to a break in a levee. In Arkansas alone, the flooding caused an estimated amount of $500 million in damages. The heavy rainfall also washed harmful pollutants into rivers and lakes.
Just as shaunabannan said, the Mississippi did indeed flood in the summer of 2011. I got to see it when I was visiting my extended family in Omaha. The river was very wide, and had risen up, covering several benches along the river where people normally walk and rest during non-flooding times. There was also some outdoor seating near a restaurant that had been roped off to keep people away from it. The restaurant itself was on higher ground, but would have been flooded if it was built right next to the river. The other side of the river was less developed.
On the other side of the river, there were a bunch of trees that were sitting deep in the water. They were all very sturdy trees and seemed to be doing fine, but I suspect that several younger trees were washed away by the flood.
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