This is what downtown Cedar Rapids — where my parents live and where I grew up — looked like yesterday morning. Those straight lines crossing the river are the railings of the bridges. They are completely under water now. The water is expected to crest early this afternoon, so things will get a bit worse before they get any better.
My family is fine — high but only dry in comparison to others in town. Neither they nor any of my other relatives are in any danger of losing their homes. I’m pretty thankful for this.
My hometown however is in bad, bad shape. Most of the downtown is under water up to the roofs or second stories. All the important civic buildings are flooded out: the water is up to the second story of City Hall, police and fire stations are flooded to the roofs. The library is flooded with most of the books still in it. Several museums and a beautiful, historic theater are flooded to the second floor too. The river runs right through the center of town and all of the bridges across it, with the exception of only the freeway, are under water. One of the hospitals was evacuated last night because the water had reached the generator in the basement.
Thousands of people have lost power and the water system is operating at only 25% of capacity. Residents are under orders to use water for drinking only and they expect this order will stay in effect for up to three weeks.
24,000+ people have been evacuated from their homes.
Cedar Rapids is not the only city that has been been effected by the flooding. Iowa City, where my brother lives, is already starting to flood and the river there isn’t expected to crest for another week. (My brother and his family also live far from the flood plane and are safe.) All but 16 of Iowa’s 99 counties have been declared disaster areas.
It’s really devastating.
Please, if you’re inclined to do so, take a moment to think some positive thoughts or send some prayers to the many people who are suffering, who have lost their homes, and who have lost their towns.
You can read articles and see many pictures of the flood at the Cedar Rapids Gazette website: http://gazetteonline.com
You can also check out photos people have uploaded to Flickr.