August 1, 1993: “The Great Flood of 93” The Great Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Flood of 1993 comes to a peak.

The Great Flood of 1993 was a disaster that occurred in the Midwestern United States, along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and their tributaries, from April to October 1993. The flood was among the most costly and devastating to ever occur in the United States, with $15 billion in damages (approx. $26 billion in 2018 dollars). The hydrographic basin affected over around 745 miles (1,199 km) in length and 435 miles (700 km) in width, totaling about 320,000 square miles (830,000 km2).  Within this zone, the flooded area totaled around 30,000 square miles (78,000 km2)  and was the worst such U.S. disaster since the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, as measured by duration, area inundated, persons displaced, crop and property damage, and number of record river levels. 

James Scott, a 23 year-old Illinois man, was convicted in 1994 for “intentionally causing a catastrophe” and sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in causing some of the flooding across the river from Quincy, Illinois. In an attempt to strand his wife on the other side of the river so he could continue partying, Scott removed several sandbags from a levee holding back the water. The breach flooded 14,000 acres of farmland, destroyed buildings, and closed a bridge.  His conviction was overturned in 1997, but reinstated in 1998. He maintains his innocence behind bars.