500 Year FloodThis is the trail that I normally take for my morning walk. It's 2 blocks from my house.
Things will never be the same. 18 buildings at the University of Iowa have been flooded, including the main library, student union and the art building; homes and businesses are ruined; and thousands of people are indefinitely displaced.
One of my best friends/co-workers had to evacuate his 2nd floor apartment last Thursday. The water reached his level yesterday. He's safely staying with family 2 hours away. However, he can't get to work and our company won't pay him for the time he's away. It will be a week or two before he can return. When I talked to him today, he said that he'll come back for his salvaged belongings, but he's not returning to Iowa City.
The main highway between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids has been closed for 3 days and may be closed for another 4 days. The two cities are closely connected in many ways. Many of my friends and co-workers live there. Currently, the recommended detour to Cedar Rapids is through Des Moines. That's a 281 mile trip one way. Normally, it's a quick 25 mile drive.
Iowa City has been fortunate compared to Cedar Rapids. The damage hasn’t been as severe and we didn’t lose water or power. Also, because our river is controlled by a reservoir system, we had more time to prepare.
Like thousands of other volunteers, I spent many hours sand-bagging the last couple days. Our efforts made a difference as many properties were spared damage. Today, we're feeling relieved as we learned that the river has crested.
Now, the hard work begins for so many people. Clean-up, repair, and recovery. I'll pitch in and do everything I can, but for me, it's a choice not a requirement because I haven't been directly affected.
Once again, I've been spared personal loss. Two years ago, a tornado struck one block from my house taking several homes and businesses. This year, the flood water came within two blocks of me.
I'm a very lucky girl.