Floods Bring Maze of Problems for Miami

The floods along the Mississippi River have made their impact on South Florida

By Hank Tester and Courtenay Tucker
|  Wednesday, May 11, 2011  |  Updated 6:50 PM EDT
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Think the Mississippi River overflowing doesn't impact Miami? Think again.

Think the Mississippi River overflowing doesn't impact Miami? Think again.

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It may not have reached the consciousness of many South Floridians, but the flooded farmland along the Mississippi River will soon affect our pockets.

Already, Arkansas has suffered $500 million in damage. Mississippi's damages may total $800 million. And an estimated 10,000 acres of land in Louisiana will be lost after this week.

However, experts say our nation’s soggy breadbasket will drive up the cost of corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice in the early fall months as well.

And the lack of ethanol _ a byproduct of corn used in gas _ is expected to gouge pockets at the pump.

The worst flood to hit this region in 70 years has halted the transportation of oil and temporarily shut down several refineries.

That means South Floridians inch even closer to seeing $5 per gallon prices at the pump.

"The flood will go away but the higher prices will come later,” said Albert Williams, a professor at Nova Southeastern University.

Williams said that everything has an optimal planting season, and as millions of seeds float down the river, millions of people across the country will be affected.

“Our farmers who haven’t been able to plant are affected. Corn can’t survive underwater. Cotton will never grow underwater because it is too fragile and the winter wheat that is ready to harvest is totally lost,” Williams said.

That said, if the seemingly imminent $5 a gallon doesn’t bruise your pockets, maybe the potential $7 dollar per box of that name brand cereal your kid can’t live without, will.

Williams says anything linked to corn will see an increase in the coming months: corn oil, cornflakes, and ethanol.

Most, like Miami resident Daniel Jean-Marie, said he will likely pony up.

“70 (dollars) to fill up every five days is already quite a lot. But what can we do?” he said.

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