flooding

This time of year, pilots in small blue and white airplanes are busy gathering information about how much snow is on the ground — and more importantly, how much water that snow contains.

Mississippians had been braced for historic floods after days of heavy downpours. When the Pearl River crested in Jackson on Monday, the water was 8 feet above flood stage — but that was lower than many had feared.

Forecasters in Mississippi are bracing for what could be one of the most devastating floods in the state's history, as days of heavy downpours stoke fears that a river in the state capital of Jackson will continue to swell beyond its banks and threaten the homes of thousands of people.

Flooding has already began to ripple across parts of Jackson and surrounding areas, and state and federal officials are working to contain the severity of the flooding in the face of additional rainfall expected in the days ahead.

Clearing skies were welcome news for residents in Oregon and Washington this weekend following days of heavy flooding that has forced evacuations and untold millions in damage.

This week's flooding followed a particularly wet month of January, even for the Pacific Northwest. In some parts of the region, rain fell on 28 out of the 31 days in January. Snowmelt compounded flooding, pushing several rivers in the region to crest their banks.

Davenport, Iowa, faced some of the worst flooding in its history last year.

Flooding isn't uncommon to Iowa's third-biggest city. For years, Davenport has resisted efforts to build a flood wall on its banks of the Mississippi River.

But last spring, businesses along the riverfront scrambled to save their spaces when floodwaters breached temporary barriers.

"It didn't get as bad as it could have got," says Dan Bush, a co-owner of multiple bars near the river. "The last big event was in 1993. I don't expect it to be another 25, 27-odd years before it happens again."

The lagoon city of Venice — a unique experiment nurtured by man and nature — suffered heavy damage in November as floodwaters reached their highest peaks in more than 50 years.

But rising sea levels are not the only threat. As Venetians continue to leave their city, Venice risks becoming an empty shell sinking under mass tourism.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has paid out a record $4.24 billion in claims for acres farmers couldn’t plant this year.

The “prevented planting” provision allows farmers to file a crop insurance claim when weather conditions leave fields unfit for a crop. Heavy spring rains and flooding left some Midwest farm ground too wet for seeds and equipment during the planting window, meaning farmers couldn’t put in the corn or soybeans they’d intended for those acres. 

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET

"Venice is on its knees," Mayor Luigi Brugnaro says as the lagoon city suffers through some of the worst flooding in its history. The highest tide in 50 years has brought seawater that is threatening monuments and works of art in the historic city.

With more than 85 percent of the city flooded, Brugnaro says the city is in a state of emergency and that he has asked Italy's government for help.

When Arthur Mosely moved to East Austin in the 1980s he didn't worry about flooding. His property was not in a designated floodplain, and he thought of the creek that ran behind the house as an amenity. It guaranteed privacy and a green space full of muscadine grapes and pecan trees.

But over the years more houses went up and the creek flooded repeatedly, almost reaching his house twice. "All of this was water," he explains on a recent windy morning, gesturing to a wide swath of his backyard.

A broad analysis of federal records finds that homeowners hoping to relocate out of flood zones in the U.S. don't have equal access to the main source of federal funding meant to help them.

Pages