Our neighborhood feels very surreal. It’s like nothing ever happened here. I went down to the park to jog this morning (for the first time in close to a week…I figure I got my exercise sandbagging last week!) and saw the same people I usually see. And a couple people from the city were MOWING in the park! That just seemed so odd to me…in the midst of this crisis, the city is still mowing our park.
I think we can safely say FEMA was WRONG about us being in the 500-year flood plain. We didn’t fight it a year ago because 1) you can’t really fight FEMA and 2) we were just happy they removed us from the regular flood plain. There were places in this area that were well beyond the 500-year flood plain that flooded. We’re fine. And we should remain fine because the river has crested! It crested earlier than expected and didn’t get quite as high as expected. And if that’s not good enough news, there is also no rain in the forecast until the end of the week!
We should see water levels from the two flooded creeks go down pretty quickly, but flood waters from the river water will go down much more slowly because it’s fed by the reservoir. It’s hard to believe Junior High Kid (I need a new name for him now that he’s not in Junior High anymore) and I walked out there a week ago today. That seems so long ago now. The spillway was dry (like it’s supposed to be…like it’s always been except for the flood of 1993, which was the record flood BEFORE this one). Today the water pouring over the spillway is five feet high. That’s almost as tall as I am. It’s not expected to stop running over for another ten days.
Sandbagging efforts stopped yesterday, so now we just wait and see where the next need for volunteers is. We know there’s a huge need at the relocated animal shelter. Junior High Kid has volunteered there before, so he would like to help out there. And we can actually GET there…there are a lot of places we CAN’T get to (and won’t be able to for some time). But things are gradually improving.
Junior High Kid and I walked down to the Coralville strip today to see the flood waters. It was unbelievable! They came further up the strip than I realized…the Dairy Queen on the strip was the first building that was dry (though there must be water partway up the ramp that goes down into that next little strip mall because there were several feet of water in that parking lot down below). The Dairy Queen didn’t seem to be open, though. There were three police cars parked down there at the edge of the water, watching the sightseers. When I think about all those people who have lost their homes…all the businesses that may or may not reopen (I read about a local carpet place where the owner brought in a crane and cut a hole in his roof so he could get some of the carpets and/or machinery out before it was too late!)…all the university buildings (including Hancher Auditorium!) that have taken on water, I just can’t believe it. This isn’t just “a little” water…and it’s not just a few people who were affected. This is a much smaller town than New Orleans, but the level of damage is on par with Hurricane Katrina. (I’d upload pictures if I had my high-speed Internet connection back.)
I know some of you have kids who are waiting for “traveling books.” They’re coming…as soon as I’m certain mail is getting out of our community. By the way, I MAY still need a few more people to start traveling books (I’m still waiting to hear back from a couple of people.) If you’re interested, go to www.truthabouttruman.com to see what I’m talking about. If you’ve got a 10-13-year-old who’d be interested in reading a book on cyberbullying and starting one of the traveling books, e-mail me privately.
If you’re a person who prays, it couldn’t hurt to say a little prayer that Iowa doesn’t see more rain for a while…