For Former Gov. Edgar, Harvey Sparks Memories Of Great Flood Of 1993

CHICAGO (CBS) — The devastating flooding in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey brought back memories for former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, who led the state through the Great Flood of 1993 along the Mississippi River.

“I’ve thought a lot about that the last few days when I watched those floods, and remembered what I learned then, which a lot of people don’t appreciate how devastating a flood is. I mean, once you get water in your house, your house is never the same,” Edgar said.

Flooding along the Mississippi River in 1993 caused up to $15 billion in damage all the way from North Dakota to Missouri, after hundreds of levees failed along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, according to the National Weather Service.

gettyimages 52030943 For Former Gov. Edgar, Harvey Sparks Memories Of Great Flood Of 1993

Hundreds of residents form a line as they pass sandbags along a flood-threatened levee in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, in a last-ditch attempt to save this historic town in August 1993.This levee was the last protecting the French colonial settlement after an outlying levee was intentionally destroyed to relieve pressure from the cresting Mississippi River. (Photo credit: EUGENE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Great Flood was crippling to Illinois farmers, and Edgar said it puts the flooding from Hurricane Harvey in perspective.

“You think of the thousands of people in Houston, like the thousands of people of Illinois back in ’93, and many of them don’t have flood insurance. I mean, I don’t know what they’re going to do. They are in a very, very difficult situation; and it just lingers,” he said.

If there’s a silver lining, Edgar said it’s that people reach out to help each other; something else he learned in 1993.

“I’ve watched people begin to try to do things to help the flood victims in Houston; reminds me of people back in the 90s helping the people in downstate Illinois, particularly people from the Chicago area,” he said.

Brothers John (L), Jerry (C) and Ed Tharp canoe through the flooded streets of their town 09 July 1993 after the rising Mississippi River breached the town levee. They row past a historic town home built in the late 19th century.

Brothers John (L), Jerry (C) and Ed Tharp canoe through the flooded streets of their town in Keithsburg, Illinois, after the rising Mississippi River breached the town levee in July 1993. They row past a historic town home built in the late 19th century. (Photo credit: EUGENE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Illinois Farm Bureau has mobilized to help farmers and ranchers in Texas.

Many Illinois cities, towns, villages, school districts, charity organizations, and other groups also have organized drives to collect donations of water, toiletries, blankets, and other supplies for flood victims. Several animal shelters also have sent volunteers to the Houston area to help shelters that have been overwhelmed with homeless pets.

Edgar said, when the chips are down, Americans come through for each other.

Volunteers try to save farmer Bill Kennedy's home in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, from floodwaters after the Army Corps of Engineers intentionally broke a nearby farmland levee to relieve pressure on the downtown's levee in August 1993. The town is a historically significant 18th century French settlement.

Volunteers try to save farmer Bill Kennedy’s home in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, from floodwaters after the Army Corps of Engineers intentionally broke a nearby farmland levee to relieve pressure on the downtown’s levee in August 1993. The town is a historically significant 18th century French settlement. (Photo credit: EUGENE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

More from Craig Dellimore

Watch & Listen LIVE