Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I think I'll build an ark.

At some point this winter, maybe in February, I stood at our front door looking out at the 4+ feet of snow hiding our mailbox and said to Rykert, "When all this melts, we're gonna have a flood." Around here we had a lot of snow. Far more than my parents had in central Iowa.

Well, it melted without immediate incident. Iowa City is a river town, and the river was swollen but the flooding was typical. Upstream, the reservoir on the other side of the Army Corp's (insert insults about the competency of the Army Corp of Engineers here*) dam was high. Higher than it usually is in the spring, according to Rykert and his early spring skiing escapades (clothed in a dry suit and never being totally immersed in the frigid waters).

Then a month or more ago, it started to rain. And it really hasn't stopped since.

So, here we are in June, and all hell is breaking loose. Iowa City and Coralville (where we live) are seeing significant flooding which will apparently rival (or exceed) the flooding of 1993 which was supposed to be a 500 year flood or something like that. We are lucky to live on high ground a distance from any river or stream with a walkout basement that hasn't taken any water (knocks ferociously on wood). Despite our good fortune, others haven't been so lucky, and sandbagging has been in full force along the river including parts of the University. Coralville lake will be toppling the spillway very soon which will send additional flood waters downstream toward Iowa City. A construction project at the University is contributing to some of the flooding as well, due to a cofferdam. Nevermind that said construction project is over a year past its completion date.

The only immediate impact on us will be some minor inconveniences caused by current and eventual road closures. This does have a significant impact on Rykert's hobby of choice, water skiing, as both the reservoir here is out of commission and the private lake he skis on in Waterloo is swollen far out of its banks thanks to the Cedar River.

*There's a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on related to the Army Corp of Engineer's handling of this situation on local newspaper comments and message boards. Mainly, people feel that they should have increased the output earlier to bring the lake level down. However, I don't think that's really valid here, and there still would have been flooding downstream. No one could have predicted the amount of rain we've seen this spring, so I'm not sure they did anything wrong here. This isn't blatant incompetency like that which contributed to problems in New Orleans during Katrina or that continue to plague that region.

6 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Liz said...

I'm right there with ya, Libby. We're up high on a hill, too. I had a dream last night that I woke up and our hill was an island. Rain Rain Go Away!

Chelsea said...

Everyone in the area is posting on their blogs about the floods. It's weird to see so much water in places it usually doesn't go. Someone left a comment in the P-C that they should sandbag the spillway so the water doesn't go over it. Obviously they don't get the point of the spillway.

Libby said...

I am scared of most of the people who leave comments on the P-C website. Who are these people?

I saw that comment, and wondered how exactly he would suggest that we sandbag the spillway.

Chelsea said...

I thought the same thing when I saw that comment.

It's a slow day at the lab, so I can leave and help. I am obsessed with the news about it too.

Chelsea said...

It's pretty high by Taco Bell. This morning it was still touching the bottom of the bridge with railroad tracks and I think parts of 4th ave are flooded. Near Iowa River Power Co. The sidewalk right next to the bridge was starting to flood.

Knittripps said...

Rain, rain go away!!!
Des Moines is very wet.

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