Heavy precipitation during the fall and winter of 1992/93 saturated Midwestern soil and raised reservoir levels. Then excessive spring and summer rainfall inundated 400,000 square miles, flooding that persisted throughout much of the growing season in the Corn Belt. Iowa was hit very hard in July, a key month for developing corn. U.S. corn yield ended up at just 100.8 bushels per acre in 1993/94, down USDA’s already reduced August estimate of 116 bpa and down from over 130 bpa the season before.
In addition to the impact on production, moving harvested crops was very difficult. With levees failing along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, barge traffic was halted for about two months.
This year, frozen soil in the upper Midwest was not able to absorb the heavy precipitation from late-winter storms, and ice still clogs some waterways, causing rivers to flood out. NOAA reports that some parts of the central U.S. have already received three times their usual amount of March precipitation, and over 200 river stations are reporting some degree of flooding—including 39 areas of major flooding—and another 114 gauges are near flood stage.
The Des Moines River in March 2018
And in 2019