THE DELTA 331 GREAT MISSISSIPPI FLOOD OF 1927 Runoff from the torrential rains throughout the entire Mississippi River Valley during the winter of 1926 and 1927 led to a dramatic rise in the river. The Mississippi River Valley drains from thirty-one states as well as two Canadian provinces. Rainfall was ten times average, and, as the waters rose, levees were breached throughout the Mississippi River Valley. The worst of the flooding and damage was centered on Greenville. The Mississippi River covered more than 27,000 square miles with up to thirty feet of water when it flooded. As the flood was beginning to end in July 1927, the river was still averaging seventy miles across. In the Great Flood, more than 246 people in Mississippi were killed, more than 700,000 people were displaced, and more than 130,000 homes were destroyed. More than $350 million worth of property was destroyed, today’s equivalent of around $5 billion. The water reached into eleven different states down the Mississippi River. The damage of the Great Flood is second only to Hurricane Katrina. Nationwide more than 920,000 people were displaced, and in Mississippi more than 300,000 cows, mules, hogs, and poultry drowned in the floodwaters. It was nearly two months before the river drained enough for Mississippians to start digging out the houses and businesses that had been covered in mud and sledge. One of the immediate results of the flood was the Flood Control Act of 1928, which had the goal of building a better containment system for the Mississippi River. Thirteen thousand African American refugees were stranded on the Greenville levee alone. Planters feared losing their workers and would not allow boats to take the refugees away from the disease ridden levee camps. Refugees were forced to work without pay cleaning up after the flood, and many were injured and or died. The flood water not only washed away homes, livestock, and people, the water also damaged railroad lines and stations. The railroad was one of the major modes of transportation and ways of getting cotton to market. The damage to the rails was crippling to the Mississippi economy.