Peoples' Weather Map


The Great Flood of 1993

The Great Flood of 1993


Kathy Butler of Mississippi Valley Screen Printing assembles t-shirts to benefit the American Red Cross. Daily Democrat pub. 8/22/93 via NLHS

When the waters began rising along the Mississippi in July of 1993, Lee County had already begun the process of sandbagging the river’s edge. Tales of devastation preceded the rise of the water with dams bursting just weeks before in western Wisconsin and the upper 200 miles of the Mississippi closed to river traffic. On July 10th, the bridge at Fort Madison closed after experiencing 54 out of 58 days of rain, resulting in over 21 inches of rain across the Mississippi River basin. Over 150 levees along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers failed, resulting in approximately 12 billion dollars in damage nationwide.

Those who owned businesses in the path of the flooding continued working to provide for the rest of the community. Kathy Butler of Mississippi Valley Screen Printing used her skills to raise funds for the American Red Cross, while others spent time sand bagging or serving food and water to volunteers.

Boats preparing to transport merchandise from the Building Materials warehouse on First Street and Avenue G. Daily Democrat pub. 8/22/93 via NLHS.

Owners of local businesses continued to operate despite the flooding. Building Materials, Inc. utilized boats to transport materials to customers after the water covered the road to the warehouse, reaching a depth of 5 feet. The business remained open the duration of the flood and still stands today.

The North Lee County Historical Society utilized volunteers to protect the historical riverfront structure, but the flooded river overpowered their efforts. The end result was nearly $80,000 in damage. With limited insurance coverage, there was a $26,000 gap in funds that might have shut the archive down for good. Fortunately, community members banded together to make the repairs and raise the funds necessary to restore the historical society through auctions and fundraisers. Experienced volunteers performed much of the restorative work.

Sources: on-line: Bob Wigginton,”Flood of ’93: ‘When Hope Was Not Enough'” – Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio, July 10, 2013, Reprinted from Herald-Whig, August 15, 1993; “Statistics and Chronology from the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1993,”; Amanda Lund phone correspondence with Building Materials, Inc in Fort Madison, August 9, 2015; Amanda Lund phone correspondence with Kathy Butler, August 11, 2015. Images: The North Lee County Historical Society and the Daily Democrat