Thursday, June 12, 2008

Iowans Flee From Rising Flood Waters

We've been trying to watch this pretty closely--we both have people in the general area of where all of this is happening (besides, we care about farm country as a matter of pride) and it is getting harder and harder to ignore what these folks are going through:

More than 3,900 homes were evacuated and part of downtown Cedar Rapids was under water Thursday as Iowa splashed through another day of flooding.

Officials estimated that 100 blocks in Cedar Rapids were under water.

"We're seeing very substantial flooding," said Craig Hanson, the city's public works maintenance manager.

Cedar Rapids' problems came a day after frantic sandbagging enabled the upstream cities of Cedar Falls and Waterloo to narrowly avoid widespread flooding.

Despite several days spent preparing for the approaching high water, Cedar Rapids couldn't avoid widespread evacuations. Rescuers had to use boats to reach many of the residents stranded in nearly 4,000 homes.

Some pictures after the jump...

Iowa is getting pummeled. On top of the flooding, they suffered a devastating loss of life last night when a tornado ripped through a Boy Scout camp and killed four teenagers.

Downtown Cedar Rapids is under five to six feet of water. The storm sewers are pouring water into the streets instead of draining it away. A railroad bridge collapsed a few hours ago, and an earthen levee gave way on the Cedar River and caused ten thousand people to be evacuated from their homes.

Thousands are without electricity, and 911 services are down.

The bridge that collapsed had been loaded with 18 gravel-filled cars, an attempt to weigh it down against the rising river, said Jeff Woods, a spokesman for the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway Company. "There's nothing left to see" of the bridge, Woods said.

All exits to downtown Cedar Rapids are closed, and traffic on the interstate has slowed to about twenty miles per hour. The county jail has been evacuated and the prisoners transfered to state prisons until the jail is safe for habitation once more.

The governor has declared 55 of the 99 counties in the state to be disaster areas.

No comments: