Week 23 {365} Scarred, but Healing

Friday, June 13th, 2008 is a day that Cedar Rapidians will remember.

It is a day that marked a moment in history here.

A day that will be forever imbedded in our memory banks.

Whether we were affected directly or indirectly, it has left it's mark.

It was a flood worse than anyone could have imagined, worse than anything on record. It extended more than the 500 year flood plain.

Sunday is the 2 year anniversary of this disaster that scarred our city.

The following are a few pics that I was able to capture. It was difficult as we were unable to get too close with the river flowing at at 149,500 CFS (cubic feet per second). Under normal conditions it is about 10,000 CFS
(Taken 1 day before the river crested at 31.12 feet)


(All bridges downtown are under water.)

The following pics are the aftermath of this flood days later.

(Theatre Cedar Rapids)



(Penford Bridge collapsed.)

Pictures do not even begin to tell the real story here.

In Cedar Rapids alone 1300 city blocks were under water, about 9.2 sq miles.

5,200 homes were flooded leaving 25,000 people displaced.

187 businesses were flooded, totaling an estimated 1.5 billion and growing.
(Figures estimated in 2008)

The water pumps, sewage treatment plant, and 2 power plants were flooded.

There was a water shortage for about a week. The first few days we were asked to use only one gallon, enough for one flush. The next 4 days we were on an alternating schedule and told to use judiciously.

Devastation like I have never seen in my days, and so close to home.

Sadly enough, 2 years later there is still much that is the same.

(Photo taken today.)

Homes are abandoned and streets are still sparse.

But there is also healing.

While there are some businesses that never came back, there are many that are once again thriving.

The YMCA & Post Office downtown, Quaker Oats, the courthouse and jail are all back in business.

The Cedar Rapids School District has been temporarily relocated to trailers near Kingston Stadium.

The city's home demolition project is underway and there is daily progress.

The library has been relocated to the Westdale Mall and tens of thousands of books have been donated after the loss of an estimated 230,000.

Penford has built a new train bridge.

Theatre Cedar Rapids just recently reopened their doors again. (See photo above.)

The progress is slow and steady, but happening.

And we have all extracted valuable lessons from this disaster.

And although the city still bares many scars, it is healing.

I am not sure why, but it seems to be a growing trend. New Orleans, Fargo, Cedar Rapids, Nashville, and now SW Arkansas has hit record flood levels killing at least 20 while camping at Albert Pike Recreation Area.

The oceans are turning black and there are more natural disasters than ever before wiping out hundreds of thousands. It is a scary time that we live in.

And if I have learned nothing else, it is that we cannot be prepared enough. We must never become complacent thinking that this will never happen to us. Mother Nature has proven time and time again that she is no respector of persons or place and will take out her fury whenever and wherever she sees fit.

I challenge each of you to learn more about the natural disasters in your area and do all that you can to be prepared!


  1. Those pictures were just amazing. Wow.

  2. Those photos are just so scary and shocking. The kids and I drove through Arkansas today but weren't able to see the damage from the highway we were on. It is all so scary.

  3. Thank you for this beautiful and very tragic post... Mother Nature can strike at any time. SHe always has the upper hand.

  4. You are so right - we should always be so prepared and so many of us are not! The pictures you posted were amazing and scary! God bless all those that have been through this!

  5. An excellent challenge. Here we've been through a few floods in recent years, though nothing as big as yours, and, of course, the one thing we all fear here is bush fire. I am still gobsmacked by the number of people I talk to who think it will never happen to them and who neglect the basics of preparation. Sadly people seem to have short memories so great reminder.

  6. The guy on the bench is a great photo.

    As a side note, I have been thinking a lot about how we are just destroying our planet, day by day.

  7. i remember when that happened in iowa! i had chills the whole time i read this post. great points, and so true.

  8. Beautiful post!!! Days like today make you put life into perspective!

  9. very real post and so amazing to see your pics of that. it is very scary how similiar it seems to Katrina. Mother Nature is a powerful force. We worry about earthquakes here. Apparently we are "due" for a big one.

  10. The power of *just water* never fails to amaze me! Floods are just appalling!

  11. I remember you telling me about the flooding that destroyed the area a couple years ago, but these pictures are just unreal. Talk about devastation. What really strikes me though is that the photos are nothing compared to the real thing. Thanks for sharing this fantastic post with us Lish. Hope you're having a great weekend.

    Kristi, Live and Love...Out Loud

  12. I'm so sorry about the flood but this post is beautiful about healing and hopes! The pictures speaks so deep. Thanks for sharing this. Enjoy your weekend!

  13. This post is beautifully written and those pictures are really amazing.

  14. Those photo's are fantastic. It's scary how often we turn on the news and there has been a flood, earthquake or other natural disaster. You're right that none of us shouldn't think this couldn't happen to us, it can.

  15. Once again, Lish captures the raw moment. Brilliantly done -- I had no idea how fierce the floods had been. See, you taught me something today!

  16. Wowee. Man, those pictures. Unreal.
    We never heard about that here!
    I can't even imagine something like that, but in NZ they are doing a major campaign about being disaster prepared. Our little country sits along a major fault line, called the ring of fire. We have a gazillion volcanos. We carry on happily as if nothing bad could ever happen to our fragile little world. thanks for the reminder, Alicia, I will have to update my emergency kit :)

  17. Love viewing life through your camera.. You are truly an artist....

  18. I just read about the Arkansas flood before turning to your post. The picture of the sign saying "we are all in this together" made me cry. Having grown up in Florida, I have seen a lot of hurricane devastation. It is so heart warming to see the kindness of others when people develop the attitude that we are all in 'this' together. The human spirit is lovely and awe inspiring and I love seeing it in action.

    I cannot imagine the panic and stress of living through the floods. Thank you for this post. This is why I love blogging. :)

  19. this is SUCH a heartbreaking post. The pictures are GORGEOUS even though they are devastating. I found myself gasping out loud to the point where my hubs came over and looked/read along with me. It's so true that we have to respect and take care of Mother Nature. Great post.

  20. As much as Mother nature is our friend, she can also be our enemy.

  21. I didn't realize you live in (or near) Cedar Rapids! My sister and her family live out that way - we're off to visit them next week. The pictures are amazing - and sobering.