The record Midwestern flood of 1993 inundated 10,300 square miles in nine states, thereby creating a multitude of environmental effects and immeasurable social and economic impacts. As the 1993 flood developed, the considerable uncertainty over whether it qualified as a 50-year, 100-year, or 500-year event helps reveal that floods, like droughts, are defined not just by their geophysical dimensions, but by the damages they ultimately inflict. That the flood of 1993 qualified as a record flood by the damages it created is not open to question: it was the record-setting flood of all time in the Upper Mississippi River basin.