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Author: Subject: The Cedar Rapids Flood

Zen Peach





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  posted on 6/18/2008 at 06:47 PM
I’m sure most of you probably saw on the news over the past week what happened to my city. It would be an understatement to say there was considerable flood damage. Places that made Cedar Rapids cool are completely gone: the Piano Lounge, Penguin’s Comedy Club, the City’s main library, the historic Paramount Theater (where the Allman Brothers would have played if they would have ever scheduled a CR show), countless bars, the National Czech Museum, just to name a few.

But it’s the 1,000s of homes that were completely lost that will be the most painful. Some 25,000 people were displaced. Many of their homes, after having water in some cases up to the second floor, have collapsed in on themselves.

The clean up has begun, but it will take time. There’s a hazy dirt hanging in the air over downtown and everything has a film of grime over it. There are 1,000s of National Guard troops patrolling the streets. It’s kind of surreal watching humvees zip around town. Plus several large military helicopters have been coming and going as of late. It makes it seem all the more like a war zone.

One unfortunate aspect of having the Cedar River flow through town is that it splits the town in two. Normally, there are nine bridges which help get you back and forth. During the high point of the flood, only one was open. You can see in some of the pictures below how deep the water was. Some of the bridges are just now being opened which will help with the healing process – just getting something back to normal is important.

We’re still fighting potable water issues. All but two of the city’s water wells are inoperable. There has been a major conservation effort over the last week. We get to take showers every other day…heh. We’ve got a nice camp shower we fill with filtered rain water from our rain barrels and sit it on the deck over the course of the day and the sun heats it right up and we’ve been able to take some nice hot showers in between our regularly scheduled shower days.

Thankfully our house is on quite a hill. Only Noah and his Ark would have reached our house. But we were within four city blocks of where the water came up to. Simply unreal.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the flood to give you an idea of the utter and complete devastation CR faced. These are only pictures of the flood itself. There’s been a ton of pictures today of the aftermath: completely destroyed offices from downtown; bars you took for granted completely gutted; homes collapsed in upon themselves. I won’t post them, but you can imagine.
















 

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Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 6/18/2008 at 07:03 PM
what a mess glad your ok thanks for sharing really shows the devastation.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/18/2008 at 07:23 PM
unimaginable...Chad, I am so sorry for your fellow citizens...

man, at any moment , your life can change..

prayers to all of those folks..

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/18/2008 at 07:43 PM
I saw some unreal pictures of houses off foundations. So devastating... my heartfelt prayers going out to everyone in need!

 

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  posted on 6/18/2008 at 07:54 PM
That's really something. I remember seeing the Mississippi flooding in the early 70's as I was driving cross country...it amazed me how far the waters reached. But all I saw was open farmland, not cities.
Sure wish we had those hundreds of billions to spend on OUR reconstruction when we need it!!

zeke

 

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  posted on 6/18/2008 at 08:08 PM
I'm so sorry, Chad. Local news showed the Paramount Theater and the ruined antique Wurlitzer organ that has always been there - just one example of something that will never be the same. It's really heartbreaking. I know you'll all get through it eventually, but it sure is tough. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 01:42 PM
Chad, I've been seeing the news reports out of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City and have been thinking about you and your family and your town a lot. Your post and pictures really describe and show the magnitude of the destruction that's been inflicted on your town. It will be a long struggle for the folks of CR to get their town back but I know the people have the strength and support to get it done - it will just take time and $$$. And sadly, like Kitty indicated, some things will never be the same.

Just finished lunch and reading my paper and was struck by the story of Mercy Hospital there and the effort which went into moving patients out of harms way and thought about the work that will now need to go into cleaning that facility up and making it habitable again. That's a large hospital!

My friends Dick and Bina live 'down the road' from you over in Coralville. Their home made it through the flood but their restaurant, the Wig and Pen, was down the street from Carver Hawkeye Arena and is now gone - water to the roof. They are in shock.

I've been taking an alternate route to work as river was out of it's banks here and had flooded the road I normally took to get to work. River has since gone down and water is off the road (barely) and I was struck by what was left. The lovely grounds surrounding Gray's lake are now a mess - all of the landscaping covered in that silt dust you describe, the flowers appear dead, the once lovely trees in the Arboreteum looking like huge clumps of mud. I can only imagine what it must be for those who go into their own homes and find this unwelcome reminder of what has happened (if they still have homes to return to).

Many thoughts going out to the people whose lives have been changed by this flood as lives are rebuilt with special thoughts for those in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City and Parkersburg who have sustained the majority of the damage. I know you are heartbroken to see your city in such a shambles, Chad.

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 02:26 PM
Very reminescent of New Orleans at the worst. My heart goes out to you guys. Unbelievable. Best wishes with the reconstruction....looks like it's gonna' take a long time.
 
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True Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 02:34 PM
Totally Sad, we have been thinking about you folks out that way. Been watching on the news. The picture I saw that was so sad was all the homes that had floated up against a bridge. Not really sure where that actually was..........A huge loss for all you folks out there.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 03:00 PM
quote:
The picture I saw that was so sad was all the homes that had floated up against a bridge. Not really sure where that actually was..........A huge loss for all you folks out there.




That's just north of downtown CR along a railroad bridge. I can't believe it held up with all the debris piled up against it....especially since a very similar train bridge collapsed just south of there. You can see it in this picture:



Then there was this guy. A homeowner in one of the flooded neighborhoods. The city has set up checkpoints to keep people out of the flooded areas as it's not safe in many locations to go back to your homes. There's been more than a few homes in the last two days that have just fallen over on themselves. Anyway, this guy was understandably upset that he couldn't get through the checkpoint to see his house but after being turned away a couple of times, he got into his truck and tried to run over a cop - I think he actually hit the cop a few times - before local and state cops drew their weapons and tried to get him out of his truck. He locked the doors and wouldn't come out, so they had to bust the window before arresting him. Thankfully, there hasn't been too many other problems like this. The military police and national guard presence around here is something else...





 

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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 03:01 PM
Thank you all for your thoughts and well wishes. They are greatly appreciated!

Although it'll be impossible to replace many of the city's treasures, there's no doubt we'll get through this!

 

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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 03:02 PM

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 03:11 PM




Not the Dairy Queen too!

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 03:12 PM
quote:
Not the Dairy Queen too!


It'll be a while before I'd go back to that Dairy Queen

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 03:14 PM
quote:
That is just unfukkingreal right there.


Yeah, that about sums it up...I wish you could see how far the water stretched on either side of the river. That picture doesn't do much justice, unfortunately...

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 03:14 PM
Link to video footage:

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=videonetwor k&videoID=770431403

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 03:18 PM
This is so unreal. Prayers out to everyone.

I found these pics
tornado funnel cloud touches down in Orchard, Iowa, Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 9:04 p.m






Grain from a silo floats in floodwaters after the Meyer levee broke near Canton, Missouri June 19, 2008




an aerial shot of the train bridge above


[Edited on 6/19/2008 by No1ToRunWith]

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 03:34 PM
Wow, Chad, that's amazingly sad. One of my oldest friends who works for Transamerica transferred up to the CR office about a year ago, he and his wife live in Iowa City. All I've gotten from him are a few text messages saying they're OK and will explain later...

...flooding is truly horrible, especially on this scale when the water goes that high. It's hard to describe it if you've never seen it, but all that silt all over everything, with everything in it and the smell...ugh. You and yours up on your tetanus shots? Silt can carry some very nasty things...

 

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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 04:50 PM
Chad, I've been thinking about you ever since I heard about this.

I'm happy that you're safe, but terribly sorry about the widespread devastation in your town. Like somebody said, any disaster is terrible, but when it happens to a place that you care deeply about and have emotional attachment to, it is doubly difficult. Given my longtime residence in New Orleans, Katrina had/has the same effect on me.

And sadly, it looks like the scope of destruction is Katrina-esque. The levees are failing around St. Louis, so this could be just the beginning of a truly disastrous flood.

Good luck with rebuilding, and we'll all be thinking of you.

 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 05:35 PM
Thanks for posting these, Chad. I'm glad you and yours are OK and were on high ground. This sure looks a lot like New Orleans did, but I don't anticipate all the problems they had there. Hopefully there were lessons learned and the recovery and rebuilding can get started soon.

It was emotionally very hard for me to be in New Orleans 8 months after Katrina, so I can only imagine what it must be like to have this happen to your own town, almost overnight. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all those affected by the flooding.

 

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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 05:47 PM
Those pictures with the houses up against the bridge. Wow. I'm so sorry for all of you.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 05:48 PM
quote:
You and yours up on your tetanus shots? Silt can carry some very nasty things...


Oh yeah...I had one two years ago and the Razor Gal got one yesterday. They're giving tetanus shots away like they're going out of style here in town.

Had a depressing trip home from work today. I was able to come home close to the way I always go to work. Roads are starting to open up. Unfortunately, I have to go through one of the hardest hit neighborhoods to get home. The destruction was heartbreaking. There was piles of garbage 10-12 feet high that stretched for miles. Dirt and sludge covered everything and just hung in the air. You could see the water level marked on homes - mostly above the front door.

At every intersection still closed, which is a lot of 'em - a hummvee or other military truck blocked the entrance. Cops and soldiers are everywhere. It made me wonder if I was in Baghdad or Cedar Rapids what with all the devastation.

I did see 4 or 5 different cop cars from cities around the country patroling other parts of the city. That was pretty cool.

It's clear the clean up has begun. There were lines of dump trucks leaving the neighborhood full of garbage and debris. There were even more empty dump trucks entering to be loaded....just a continuous stream of trucks....

The best part is that everywhere you look, tons of people have their shirts rolled up and are helping out. 1,000s of people are helping their friends, neighbors or just walking up and helping out...makes you kind of proud to be from CR.

The Razor Gal, who works downtown, had this week off obviously. She's been volunteering in Palo - a suburb of CR. That ENTIRE city was under water and she's been helping with the clean up all week over there, so that's really cool.

Anyway, thanks again for all your kind words....







[Edited on 6/19/2008 by Sandman]

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/19/2008 at 08:42 PM
quote:
The best part is that everywhere you look, tons of people have their shirts rolled up and are helping out. 1,000s of people are helping their friends, neighbors or just walking up and helping out...makes you kind of proud to be from CR.
Events like this can bring out the very best in people, like those with their shirts rolled up. And the very worst like the guy who ran his truck into the cop because he was not being allowed into his neighborhood. It's good to know that the counts are in favor of the good guys!

Continuing to keep your community in my thoughts, Chad. That's very cool of RazorGal to volunteer her time to help out while off work due to shutdowns. You guys are the shirts-rolled-up kind of folks.

 

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