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Archive for June, 2008

The Great Flood of 2008

Posted on: June 13th, 2008 by Craig Rairdin 5 Comments

A few of you have written to ask how we’re doing given all the flooding going on here in Cedar Rapids. We appreciate your concern. We’re all doing well.

A couple of interesting points. First is the media. Someone reported hearing one of the cable news channels refer to Cedar Rapids as “the city they said would never flood”. We don’t know who said that; the Cedar River overflows its banks fairly regularly in some areas of town. Normal level of the river is around 4′ at the point they measure it. Water begins affecting low-lying roads in some areas at 9.5′. The long-term prediction last month said there was as much as a 50-50 chance that we’d see water as high as 9.6′ this week based on just normal forecasted precipitation.

On the other hand, this is quite an event. Our last big flood was in 1993. 12′ is considered flood stage, with 16′ considered a major flood. In 1993 we hit 19.27′, which was just short of “the big one” which was 20′ in 1851. The river as I type is at 31.12′. That’s a lot of water.

Good Morning America was here this morning and reported that the entire city was under water. This came from a reporter (Sam Champion) who got in a fight with police because he wanted to stand waste-deep in the water to do his report. So clearly he could see dry land from where he was at, and that’s where the police wanted him to stand.

All this to say that you shouldn’t take the media seriously on anything they report.

My second point is political. After Katrina (clearly a more massive disaster than what we face here) there was a lot of complaining about the response of government. It was clear that the local and state government were completely unprepared for the scale of disaster they faced. Here in Cedar Rapids it is very clear that the local government, medical facilities, and utility companies are calmly executing their disaster plans. While a few idiots have had to be “rescued” from their houses after ignoring the mandatory evacuation orders, there is adequate shelter (including pets), transportation, and food to meet the need. I think it emphasizes the importance of handling local problems locally and not depending on the federal government to come in with their sledgehammer to fix problems better addressed with thumb tacks.

If you’re interested in seeing what’s happening, check out Jeff has posted some pictures at I have posted some aerial views at my personal Web site.

Thanks again for your concern and prayers. While we’ve had extensive loss of property there has been no loss of life of which I’m aware, not even any major injuries.

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