This past month has been one of remembering the stunning events that led up to the incredible floods we had in Iowa June 2009. So, now, the rain is falling…again…we are no where close to any flooding, but just the sound, while lovely because the rain is soft and soaking in, un-nerves us.
The deep winter snows, cold and wet spring and late spring deluges all contributed to record amounts of water in the “System.” Farming practices, developments, huge roof-tops and parking lots, storm sewers directed to the waterways all contributed to water being sloughed off the land. Following are comments from Rich’s journal about that time:
June 9: Wet out.
June 10: Water over Otis and Bertram Roads. Flooding rampant and the River is still rising. Took the truck to the Nature Center and rowed down Otis Road this evening.
June 11: The high water sounded ominous, but still seemed to be plenty of slack between where the 1993 peak was and the projected flood. Left at one p.m. and helped the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation move its records from downstairs up to Dan Baldwin’s office two floors up. Back to the Nature Center. The water is rising….
June 12: A day of floods. Water rose very fast and the road is out by the sewer plant. It is under water and rain came down with thunder. I waded through …to Nature Center. Still about three feet of distance between the building floor and crest, but Jan and Jean arrived by canoe and we set up tables and put stuff up on them. Went to neighbors homes and helped them. They were in shock. The group that Manny was with (In western Iowa for the week) made their way back from Okoboji by a round about route. I picked her up at Washington High School around five p.m. Rain all night in bursts.
June 13: Up early and called Dave Novak. He came over and he, Manny and I put the canoe in at 44th street. (Up as high as the large oak on the SE corner) Water was over Otis Road and the Greenbelt and we hugged the north side of the road ditch and made our way to ICNC, which was a vast lake. the car and railroad bridges are inundated and we found a foot of smelly and dirty water in the downstairs. We took the computers and files to the upstairs. Took a quick look around the area and paddled back against the current. (He doesn’t mention how close to the overhead power lines we were. Very scary!) Very little fresh water to use. We took the truck with bikes downtown and toured around. Soldiers were keeping people from the water. Took pictures (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mspatt – Search floods 2008)Many neighborhoods have gone under water as have the Library, Federal Building, City Hall, country buildings, Quaker Oats, Cargill. Scary. (Later we learned that all the city, county, school and federal buildings that were downtown were flooded. The infrastructure is hobbled.)