It was only eight years ago that Cedar Rapids was slammed by the epic flooding of 2008. They said that was a 500-year flood but here we are again. The Cedar River is expected to crest tomorrow at eleven feet above flood stage.
At least this time the city has had time to prepare and the waters are not expected to be as high as they were eight years ago but the river is already out of its banks in some areas and it is still rising.
The last couple of days we have been watching Facebook feeds and network streams to stay informed on what is happening in our hometown. It is scary to see but we are also immensely proud of the determination and resolve of this city to beat back the flood waters and survive yet another natural disaster.
Sadly, even though it has been eight years, Cedar Rapids is still recovering from the first flood which brought this city to its knees.
June 13, 2008
Unfortunately, eight years later and this city is still lacking flood protection and according to The Des Moines Register, since the last flood, "Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to rebuild the downtown. There's a new federal courthouse, library, fire station, and convention hotel. A $37 million office tower opened last week on the east bank of the Cedar River".
What we don't have is adequate flood protection. Cedar Rapids has built some small strategically placed flood walls but the city is still waiting for the federal funding that it was promised eight years ago. The city passed its own 625 million dollar flood protection plan last year but this plan will take probably twenty years to be fully implemented.
Who would have believed we would be here again so soon?
Since the 12 inches of rainfall that fell in northern Iowa late last week, volunteers and Cedar Rapids city employees have rallied together sandbagging, laying out Hesco barriers, and building temporary levees.
What they have done in a few short days is beyond impressive.
These are just a few of the images I collected today that showcase their monumental efforts.
They have built over ten miles of walls
and stacked over 250,000 sand bags!
Every seat in the recently flood recovered Paramount Theater was disassembled and removed.
The sun has set and now we pray and wait for morning and the crest.
We were able to rise above the flood waters before and we are stronger today and now we know that
when a community pulls together nothing is impossible.