UPDATE June 26, 2015 – It doesn’t seem possible that we just passed the 8th year anniversary from this major flood. Reconstruction continues and just this month Cedar Rapids rolled out the final decade long version of a flood control system. The flood did a lot of damage, first from the water and then from the flood recovery “expert” that talked the city into making a lot of decisions that ultimately caused issues and cost more money than it should have. Every time we drive over the 5 in 1 bridge, the one bridge to stay open because it was so very far above the river, my mother keeps saying “I don’t know where the water came from, how it stayed that long, and where it went.” We should also be grateful that it was mainly property that was damaged not people and hopefully next time people will react quickly when word reaches them that a flood is coming.
This was my first report on the flood. Find more at:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/crlibrary-flood-update-2008 (Cedar Rapids Public Library – July 2008)
I add the update paragraph above and links to other flood related posts. I didn’t add those that were mostly web addresses that were no longer valid. I also added headings and current signature block below.
First Report on 500 Year Flood of 2008
Right now we’re in the middle of a 500 year flood. That means there is a 1 in 500 chance that we will have a flood this bad every year. We’ve actually had bad floods in 1851, 1929, 1961, and 1993 in Cedar Rapids. The 1929 flood was the record setter at roughly 21 feet. We’re now pushing 30 feet. 1993 was known as the year without a summer. Flood was high several times. I was working at Ushers Ferry Historic Village at the time and we watched many a day as the log cabin (the lowest point in the building) and then the depot (next in line) were slowly surrounded, made islands, then water going in. At the high point the water came just up to the top edge of the village green. We’re 10 feet of flood water above that.
Cedar Rapids Downtown
The entire downtown is underwater up to the top of the first floor. Smulekoff’s furniture store had furniture floating around in it yesterday. The Czech museum is in water about up to its roof. The first floor of the public library is gone. Water has reached Mercy Hospital, which is blocks out of the 500 year flood plain, has been reached by water and been evacuated.
Upstream Vinton, home of the state School for the Blind, has been having terrible trouble. Much of the town has been evacuated. Water got into the power substation and they have been without power. Bridges going into and out of Vinton are closed. There is a shelter in the Blind School gym.
Water is 4 feet over the spillway and pouring down. The lowest parts of Iowa City are already under deep water and the water won’t crest there for four days at least.
Our farm is well out of the water because it was one of the things my grandmother insisted on when she picked it out. Several family members have lost power temporarily. A neighbor on a different power company now has a good share of one of our freezers.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.