The water finished falling a while ago and the massive cleanup effort had started even before the river was back to normal. And it will indeed be a massive cleanup. Most of the float houses suffered some kind of damage with many of them floating away and being extremely damaged/destroyed. Driving down the streets of the Time Check neighborhood is a saddening experience. Along the sides of the road are piles of things that are too damaged to be of any use. Houses are battered and broken. Businesses are closed. Power still hasn’t been restored to some of these places.
But for all of the damage, the general mood of people is pretty good. People are working to rebuild and reopen. The owners of the float houses have a salvage crew working to recover what can be recovered. I don’t know the full extent of what is going on, but overall it seems pretty positive.
So…the floods have finally cut us off from leaving the general area. Ellis is closed as it mostly just looks like part of the river now. We have a high road that leads out of the area through back roads and such. Basically we end up on O Ave. which would connect us to Edgewood and the free world. However, O Ave. is on the 500 year fload plain and thus, the parts that let us leave are now underwater.
Carly and I went out at about 6:45 this morning to check it out. It was raining something fierce and we were driving through the regular road puddles that build up when that is the case. When we turned on to O Ave. it looked like just another one of those, but I rapidly discovered that I was drowning my car. The only reason I didn’t get stuck in the water and damage my car is because I turned around and drove on the sidewalk to get back.
We still have all of our utilities functioning normally for now, though we have been warned that we may lose electricity and gas service as decided by the Cedar Rapids Police Department. We spent some time yesterday getting non-perishable food stuffs and extra gas for the grill, so we should be fine overall.
I’m pretty sure that the water level guage on the Cedar River @ Cedar Rapids is not currently functional as it hasn’t been updated since 8:40 PM yesterday. At that time the river was at 22.38 feet and rising. With the rain we received this morning I expect it is now at about 23.5 feet, though that is purely an estimate. I am uploading yesterday’s pictures now and if we can, we’ll try and take some more pictures later today.
So…Cedar Rapids is currently experiencing record flooding. And it isn’t done yet. The Cedar River at Cedar Rapids has a flood stage of 12 feet. Meaning, once the river is above 12 feet, flooding is technically occurring. As I am writing this, the river is at 20 feet and rising. If you’re interested, you can see more up to date information here.
This kind of flooding is unprecedented for Cedar Rapids. The previous major flood was in 1993 and we have already passed that level. Roads are closing, parts of the town are being evacuated (some voluntary, some mandatory). Sandbagging is happening. And people are coming out to watch. Lots of people. It’s actually pretty neat.
I’ve never really seen flooding before moving out here. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, there really wasn’t anything that could flood. We didn’t have any large rivers. Sometimes the creek would get high, but that was nothing in comparison.
Earlier this year, as the winter snows melted, the river rose to just under 18 feet. Roads closed, but there was no other major impact. I thought that was neat though. I had never seen a river overflow its banks like that. This is completely different. Still very exciting, but definitely a good reminder of the amount of control we really have over things. Mother nature is not a force to get on the bad side of.