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!