Flood Update

I’ve been staring at this page for a while, not sure what to write or how to say what I’m feeling. It’s amazing how fast the situation here went from feeling completely under control to feeling completely surreal. I am still at the airport trying to get a flight out to Seattle tonight. Ironically we’re being delayed not by the conditions here, but by bad weather in Chicago.

Yesterday, even when the river was high and fast, it seemed that perhaps officials were overreacting. Partly that feeling was because everyone has been so calm and matter-of-fact throughout the experience. I’d forgotten how stoic midwesterners can be. Partly also because this has been an ever-evolving situation. The predictions for the flood have been steadily revised upwards ever since we arrived. The river is now above the level that they were predicting it would crest at and still rising.

The streets that we walked all week are now underwater, the railroad bridge gone, our office building submerged and the images of loss and tragedy everywhere. You cannot be here and not be profoundly moved by the loss that those who live here are experiencing. A city and community are being forever changed by the Cedar River and it’s wanton destruction.

Amazingly there have been few reports of injuries or deaths. People have been fairly quick to evacuate when asked and officials, as far as I have seen, should be commended for their efforts. The water is expected to keep rising until tomorrow sometime and then not to recede until next week. To top it all off, there are tornado warnings for the county for tonight and tomorrow morning.

If you’d like to keep up with what’s happening, the Cedar Rapids Gazette is regularly updating for conditions in Cedar Rapids – the photos below are all from their website.

This is the train bridge that the river was lapping at last night, now collapsed and completely underwater.

This is the bridge I stood on yesterday to take the photos of the rising river.

This is the government building that stands on an island in the middle of the Cedar River. I took a photo of it yesterday when the waters were rising.