One Geologist Predicted Floods in St. Louis Months Before They Struck

Hindsight is 20-20, but so too sometimes is the foresight of geologists. That was the case prior to the flooding that struck St. Louis this December.

1 minute read

January 3, 2016, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Tony Messenger spotlights the example of Washington University geology professor Bob Criss, who several months ago, at a local conference and later in the Journal of Earth Science [pdf], raised alarms that St. Louis was severely underprepared for the flood risk facing the region. Criss argued that "statistical methods used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to define flood risk are outdated."

Criss turned out to be right—the Mississippi River flooded towns around St. Louis on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Flood warnings continued through December 31, at this time of this writing.

The article presents the "Floods of 2015" as a failure of policy. Criss argues especially against the policies enacted by the Army Corps of Engineers. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015 in St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Acela train at Wilmington station in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Passenger Rail Revival Is Here

For the first time in decades, multiple rail projects are moving forward that could have a transformative impact on train travel in the United States.

May 21, 2024 - Route Fifty

California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing funding for tiny home shelter project in front of quick-build tiny home shelter unit.

California’s Tiny Home Pledge Still on Paper, One Year Later

A promise to fund 1,200 tiny homes for unhoused residents in four cities as a way to rapidly and cost-effectively provide shelter has yet to yield tangible results, but projects are moving ahead in some cities.

7 hours ago - CALmatters

Residential neighborhood in Colorado with fall foliage and snowy mountains in background.

Colorado Ends Non-Family Occupancy Limits

Local jurisdictions will no longer be able to limit how many unrelated adults can live in a household, a move that supporters say will help lower housing costs and help older adults supplement their incomes and stay in their homes.

May 24 - Strong Towns

A white crosswalk painted by Crosswalk Collective LA in Los Angeles, California.

Guerilla Urbanism Spurs Action From Cities

Rather than take a hostile approach to DIY urbanism, some cities are using guerilla efforts as an opportunity to understand critical infrastructure gaps.

May 24 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.