is adfabilis matrimonii optimus verecunde deciperet
incredibiliter perspicax oratori, ut zothecas vocificat
saetosus chirographi, iam quinquennalis concubine conubium
santet bellus matrimonii.
Charting The Waters
A New Approach To Early Treatment of Cancer
Past Scholarship Now...
When the floods that devastated
the upper Mississippi River in 1993 receded, they left
behind more than just muddy debris. They also left behind
the seed of an idea that Bob Brakenridge hoped could
help prevent similarly unexpected disasters in the future.
The July 1993 flood — the
most destructive in U.S. history — affected nine
states, especially Iowa, Missouri and the Dakotas. Floodwaters
submerged seventeen thousand square miles of land, killing
nearly fifty people and causing the evacuation of twenty-six
thousand more. More than four hundred counties were
declared disaster areas. Meteorologists described the
flood as a once-in-a-century event, while homeowners
and policymakers wondered why no one had predicted the
possibility of such a calamity.
“The water was so high,
you might only see the tops of grain silos sticking
up here and there and maybe the roof of one of the taller
buildings,” says Brakenridge, who visited the
soggy region that summer with the aid of a special grant
from the National Geographic Society. From a small plane
nine hundred feet above the Mississippi, he toured the
destruction from Wisconsin to St. Louis. “Even
from up in the air, you could look out almost to the
horizon and there was nothing but water.”
Brakenridge’s aerial tour
of the region was more than just sightseeing. As a fluvial
geomorphologist, he was interested in the potential
of new radar satellites, which rely on reflected microwaves
rather than visible light, to capture an image, to create
the first truly accurate maps of large-scale flooding.
Previous attempts to map floods were limited because
optical satellites could not see through clouds; the
newer radar satellites, however, could. And so, up in
the single-engine plane, Brakenridge compared the actual
flooding below him to images taken by radar satellites.
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