Iowa flooding…

Thank you for the e-mails wondering whether we’re okay. We lost our Internet connection (cell phone service, too) a couple days ago because the place where our connection comes from is under about eight feet of water. But my husband set us up with a dial-up connection last night (hard to believe we ever used dial-up ALL THE TIME).

We don’t need a boat to get to our house…we still have electricity and running water and a land line telephone (all of which is more than a lot of people around here can say), so yeah, we’re doing pretty good! We are on the edge of a 500-year flood plain, though, so we’re waiting to see what happens.

If you’ve ever been to my house and seen my backyard, you would laugh at the idea that we could get flooded. We did…(laughed, I mean) a year ago when half the people on our street got letters from our insurance companies telling us we were in a flood plain and needed to purchase expensive flood insurance. We had to have somebody come out and survey the neighborhood (at a cost of $800 PER HOME) to prove that we are NOT in a flood zone. Yeah, there’s a little creek back in the woods…emphasis on LITTLE creek. And if the Clear Creek (which intersects with the Iowa River) gets extremely flooded, there’s a chance we will be flooded here. But the Coral Ridge Mall is going to be in trouble before we are. There will be huge devastation in the community before that happens. The surveyor said “you’re in what we’d call a 500 year flood plain.” We rejoiced at that news a year ago…because it meant we didn’t need to purchase that expensive flood insurance policy.

Well…here we are a year later and our community is experiencing a “500-year flood event.” I live here and I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Major roads in and out of town are shut down because they are under water. The city is divided in half…you cannot get from one side to the other. Interstate 380 is closed (they said two days ago that it would NOT close…yesterday it closed)…Interstate 80 is closed just east of here…if I wanted to drive to Cedar Rapids, it would take me about 3 hours to get there (according to people I know who have had to do it). Not that people are driving back and forth between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City for the heck of it…nobody is out driving around unless they’re helping or unless they absolutely have to be out.

The devastation in town is almost incomprehensible. I’m guessing just about everyone in town knows someone who has been evacuated. Businesses have been lost. Research and equipment have been lost. The University is shut down (do you have any idea what it takes to shut down a University???)…some buildings will likely be shut down for a couple of months. And when I see pictures of the Cedar Rapids library (about 30 miles to our north), I want to cry! (Cedar Rapids was hit hard, too…but by a different river than the one that’s hitting Iowa City/Coralville. 400+ city blocks are underwater up there…I can’t even imagine!)The water fills most of the entry way out front of the Cedar Rapids Library…it would be over my head! What’s going to happen to all those books on the main level? At least the water is receding in Cedar Rapids…it’s still rising here…and will be for another four days.

My son and I have been out sandbagging (not at our house…we’re pretty sure we’re going to be okay here…not 100% sure, but pretty sure). What an experience that’s been. I’m not strong enough to build levees, but I can hold bags and I can tie them. We’ve become experts on which bags work well…which bags are a pain to deal with…which ties work well…which ties are a pain to deal with. The community has really come together…and I guess one positive thing to come out of all this is I’ve gotten to know some new people.

I took pictures in City Park a week ago because the flooding seemed incredible then. My pictures are laughable now. I couldn’t get anywhere near where I stood to get those pictures today.

Junior High Kid and I walked around at the Reservoir last Monday…before the water came over the 712 foot spillway…and we went out there again Wednesday night to see/hear the water rushing over the concrete area we’d just walked around two days before. The water is a good five feet higher than that now…and still coming. And all that water is headed into Iowa City/Coralville.

What is this community going to be like a week from now?

9 thoughts on “Iowa flooding…

  1. It’s good to hear from you, and know that you are all okay. Will be sending good thoughts that no more damage will be done and that soon normal will be in sight again. I just can’t imagine.

  2. I’m glad you guys are doing okay so far, and so, so, so hope your little creek doesn’t rise any more.

    I’m in Ohio at a writing workshop; J and the kids left Iowa City this morning, and figure it’ll take them all day to get out of Iowa. We’re heading to CT to my parents’ house for the duration. His labs in the IATL are destroyed. No idea what this means for his research program.

    Take care.

  3. I’m glad to hear you are okay. I’m sorry it is so hard for everyone in that region with all the flooding. I hope that the water starts receding sooner than they predict.

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