President Bush is headed to flood country today. On his agenda is a look at two flood-ravaged cities including Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. While the waters are receding in Cedar Rapids, the impact of this spring's floods are still being measured.
Iowa alone is estimated to be facing $2.7 billion in flood damages. Lost crops could amount to as many as 5 million acres as flood waters spread out. Levees along the Mississippi are softening as well, and those that have given way are wreaking more havoc. Total impact of the floods on cropland remain to be measured.
As the Mississippi overflows, the impact grows. Wire services report that at least 10 levees have been topped in Illinois and Missouri in the past few days, including two south of Gulfport, Ill., that threatened to swamp 20,000 acres of farmland near Meyer, Ill. And a section of the river between Fulton, Ill., and Winfield, Mo., is expected to remain closed for at least 10 days, bringing barge traffic to a halt. At least 10 tows - each with as many as 15 barges - are stuck on the upper Mississippi River.
In river towns above the flooding, there's a grain marketing impact. River terminals have only so much storage space, but are taking delivery of grain in a hot market. The grain can't move, and storage areas are starting to overflow. It will take most of the summer to work this bulge through the river system once floods subside. Basis will weaken at those terminals until the grain starts moving downriver again too.
MSNBC has an interactive map showing the progress of the flood as it moves down the river. Check that out HERE.