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    Flood Update DsM and CR

    My Way News - Cedar Rapids flood recedes; Des Moines levee fails

    Cedar Rapids flood recedes; Des Moines levee fails
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    Jun 14, 6:44 PM (ET)

    By MICHAEL J. CRUMB and JIM SUHR

    (AP) Floodwaters rush over Second Avenue near North High School on Saturday, June 14, 2008, in Des...
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    CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - The dark, filthy water that flooded Iowa's second-largest city finally started to recede Saturday after forcing 24,000 people to flee, but those who remained were urged to cut back on showering and flushing to save the last of their unspoiled drinking water.
    A sandbagging siege saved the last of the city's four collection wells from contamination by the record flood. But officials warned that if people didn't cut back the water will run out within three to four days.
    "Water is still our primary concern," said Pat Ball, the city's utilities director. "We're still using water at a greater rate than we're producing."
    More than 400 city blocks and 3,900 homes were flooded in Cedar Rapids, where early estimates put property damage at $736 million, according fire department spokesman Dave Koch.
    (AP) Map shows flooded river status in Iowa; includes current flood stages with select rivers; two...
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    While the Cedar River ebbed in hard-hit Cedar Rapids, a levee breach in the state capital of Des Moines flooded a neighborhood of more than 200 homes, a high school and about three dozen businesses.
    In Iowa City, more than 200 homes were evacuated because of the flooded Iowa River, expected to crest Monday or Tuesday. People filled thousands of sandbags at the University of Iowa but officials were conceding some buildings to the expected flooding.
    "We've pretty much just abandoned any effort to try and protect the Arts Campus because we are just overwhelmed by the amount of water," university spokesman Steve Parrott said. "It's just too unsafe." Valuable paintings have been removed from the art museum, he added.
    At least three deaths in Iowa have been attributed to the storms and subsequent flooding, and 12 more have died in two recent tornadoes. The storms have prompted the governor to issue disaster proclamations for 83 of the state's 99 counties.
    President Bush was briefed on the flooding in Iowa and other parts of the Midwest while he was in Paris, and was assured that federal agencies are making plans to help people affected by the high water, White House press secretary Dana Perino said.
    (AP) Map shows departure from normal rain totals for Midwest states in the last week; 2c x 3 1/2 inches;...
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    "He expressed his concern for people who may still be in danger and for those who are hurting from the impact of the storms," Perino said.
    Elsewhere, Illinois emergency authorities said a levee along the Mississippi River in far western Illinois burst Saturday morning and voluntary evacuations were under way in Keithsburg, a town of about 700 residents.
    "The levee broke in two places," said Keithsburg Alderman George Askew, 76. "We're getting under water."
    Farther south, rising water prompted officials to close a bridge over the Mississippi connecting Quincy, Ill., to Missouri. Authorities were sandbagging an area around a water treatment facility and other nearby businesses as a precaution.
    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama toured Quincy and helped fill sandbags Saturday.
    "Since I've been involved in public office we've not seen this kind of devastation," Obama said of the Midwest flooding. He vowed to push the federal and state governments to provide needed aid to the stricken areas.
    Parts of southern Wisconsin have been dealing with flooding for days, and Bush declared disasters in five counties there Saturday.
    Iowa's worst damage so far was in Cedar Rapids, a city of more than 120,000. The Cedar River crested there Friday night at nearly 32 feet, 12 feet higher than the old record set in 1929. City Engineer Dave Elgin said the Cedar River was dropping at a rate of about 2 inches an hour Saturday.
    Murky, petroleum- and garbage-choked water inundated three collection wells and threatened the fourth before several hundred volunteers staged a last-ditch sandbagging operation.
    Water lapped to within 3 feet of the improvised, 4-foot-high wall surrounding the brick pumping station before it began to recede. Two portable generators, one as big as a semitrailer, roared around the clock to keep the three pumps inside running.
    "It's the little engine that could," said Ron Holtzman, one of several people who came to watch the operation Saturday from a nearby foot bridge.
    Residents not forced to leave their homes took the warnings to conserve seriously.
    Kathy Wickham, 65, was collecting water from the dehumidifier in her basement and has been bathing from the 6-inch-deep enamel washbasin she used as a child on the farm.
    "I grew up without any running water, so I'm going back to my childhood," she said.
    Raejean White posted bright yellow signs at all six entrances to the Preston Terrace Condominiums that read: "If it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down."
    In Catherine Holt's household, there are nine children ranging in age from 2 to 17 - including four teenage girls. She said they're making do with baby wipes and water stored earlier in the week in milk jugs and soda bottles.
    "So what if it stinks?" said Holt, who closed off one of the family's two bathrooms and forbade the children from using any faucets. "This is so minor compared to what other people are going through."
    About 100 miles to the west in Des Moines, a levee ruptured early Saturday and the Des Moines River poured into the Birdland neighborhood near downtown. A mandatory evacuation was ordered for 270 homes; many of those residents had left after a voluntary evacuation request Friday.
    Des Moines city crews and National Guard units started to build a temporary berm in a bid to stop the water, but by midmorning the water had cut through mounds of dirt and sandbags and inundated the homes and other buildings, including North High School.
    "Things happened really fast," said Toby Hunvemuller of the Army Corps of Engineers. "We tried to figure out how high the level would go. Not enough time. We lost ground."
    Authorities knew the aging levee near Birdland, a working-class, racially diverse neighborhood, was the weakest link among the city's levees. A 2003 Corps report called for nearly $10 million in improvements across Des Moines, but there wasn't enough federal money to do all the work.
    "This was the first to fail, and we felt it was the one likely to fail," said Bill Stowe, the city's public works director.
    Some residents were upset that other areas of city have received more flood-control improvements than Birdland since massive floods hit the area in 1993.
    "In the short term they did a great job with the buildup of the sandbags. But they should have known this was coming," Chris Lucas said at a shelter.
    In southeast Iowa, authorities told all the roughly 250 people in Fredonia to leave their homes ordered more evacuations in two other small towns, Columbus Junction and Columbus City. The communities are clustered near the junction of the Iowa and Cedar rivers. Iowa has had a wet spring and at least 8 inches of rain since June 6. More thunderstorms are possible in the Cedar Rapids area during the weekend, but next week is expected to be sunny and dry.



    Let my Fred's Posse Ride: Georges, Naz, Hogue, Bryce, Nader, Monte, Matt, and McKay.

  2. #2
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    Re: Flood Update DsM and CR

    Bloomberg.com: Worldwide
    U.S. Midwest Gets Brief Respite From Thunderstorms (Update3)

    By Robin Stringer and Ryan Flinn
    June 14 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Midwest, after a brief respite from storms that have pounded the region this month, faces a new dousing.
    ``There are strong thunderstorms going on right now'' in Iowa, AccuwWeather.com's Alan Reppert said. ``There will be more for tomorrow, which will probably aggregate the flooding.''
    A storm system is expected to reach the entire Midwest tomorrow, bringing heavy rain that will continue into the week, AccuWeather.com said. Iowa City and the Quad Cities along the Mississippi River, Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline in Illinois, are likely to have flooding tomorrow, the meteorologist predicted.
    President George W. Bush was briefed on the flooding in Paris today and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is planning for long-term aid to people in affected areas, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said in an e-mailed statement. Earlier today, Bush declared a major disaster in Wisconsin and ordered federal funding for several counties, according to Perino's office.
    Iowa and the Midwest have been struck by a series of severe storms this year, with 65 percent more tornadoes reported to the National Weather Service compared with the number cited by the end of June last year.
    `Major Flooding'
    ``We will continue to see major flooding over much of the Mississippi River, from northeastern Missouri through much of Iowa,'' Reppert said.
    Eighty-three of the 99 counties in Iowa have been declared disaster areas by Governor Chet Culver, according to Bret Voorhees, spokesman for Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
    Some cities, including Madison, Wisconsin, have already had almost twice their typical annual rainfall. Several tributaries of the Mississippi River have overflowed their banks, and record flooding has hit areas across the Mississippi Valley.
    One levee broke along the Des Moines River in Iowa early today, causing ``significant flooding'' in the Birdland neighborhood north of the river, Sergeant Vincent Valdez of the local Police Department told reporters at a press conference.
    The flooding led to a mandatory evacuation of 270 homes, according to city of Des Moines's Web site. Another 24,000 people have been forced from homes in Cedar Rapids, the state's largest evacuation so far, according to Voorhees.
    River Crests
    The Des Moines River is more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) above flood stage of 23 feet and is forecast to recede less than a foot tomorrow, according to the RiverGages.com, Army Corps of Engineers' water-monitoring Web site.
    The storms knocked out electricity, submerged roads, destroyed homes and lifted corn prices to a record. Storms are linked to 15 Iowa deaths since May 25, of which 10 were killed by tornadoes, including four teenagers at a Boy Scout camp, the Iowa governor's office said in a statement.
    Governor Culver, a Democrat, said the U.S. government added six counties to a disaster declaration, making individuals and business owners eligible to receive federal funds. while another 11 counties can gain public funds to help recover from the flooding. The damage may reach hundreds of millions of dollars, the National Weather Service said.
    Areas of Des Moines were under a voluntary evacuation order yesterday after a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers advisory about the city's levees, officials said.


    Let my Fred's Posse Ride: Georges, Naz, Hogue, Bryce, Nader, Monte, Matt, and McKay.

  3. #3
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    Re: Flood Update DsM and CR

    U of I campus sand-bagging: 'This is our last effort' | DesMoinesRegister.com | The Des Moines Register
    U of I campus sand-bagging: 'This is our last effort'

    REGISTER AND PRESS-CITIZEN STAFFS • June 14, 2008 Iowa City, Ia. -- University of Iowa President Sally Mason said efforts to sandbag and defend the campus from rising flood waters will be completed this afternoon.

    After that, Mason said, little more can or will be done.

    “This is our last effort,” said Mason, surveying the massive sand-bagging effort this afternoon on Madison Street, one block east of the Iowa River.
    Get complete coverage of the Iowa Floods

    University officials estimated that one-eighth of the campus already has been directly impacted by flood water, with an expected crest of the swollen Iowa River on Tuesday.

    “We should be done by 5 this afternoon, and then all we can do is wait,” Mason said today. “We will have done all we can.”

    The Iowa River had caused major damage by Saturday even though the crest was at least two days away. The river is expected to reach 33 feet to 34 feet late Monday or early Tuesday, far above the 25-foot flood stage.

    Only one bridge connecting the east and west sides of downtown Iowa City remained open, and officials said it may have to be closed this weekend.

    The Iowa River surged another 2 feet in just 12 hours into Friday, forcing the University of Iowa to shut down the power plant that provides service to the University of Iowa Hospitals and other university buildings.


    By 4 p.m. Friday, 19 endangered university buildings - including the student union, Hancher Auditorium and the English-philosophy building - were either taking on water or volunteers were trying everything to block it.

    "This is an emergency such as we've never seen before, with unprecedented threats to our campus," U of I President Sally Mason said. "This is getting dangerous now."

    As the river surged to hit 30.41 feet - 8 feet above flood stage, and 2 feet above the record of 28.52 feet set in August 1993 - officials drilled small holes in bridges to release pressure in hopes of staving off collapses. Police and aid workers were expected to set up satellite operations on both sides of the river.
    U of I shuts down power plant

    The University of Iowa has been forced to shut down its power plant that provides service to University Hospitals and other university buildings.

    That doesn't mean, however, that the campus has lost all power.

    The power plant basically provides the electricity to run air conditioning and to provide chilled water to campus.

    University Hospitals remains up and operational. Temporary boilers are in place at the hospital and another one is being installed right now. The hospital also has emergency generators ready in case power fails.

    Much of the power to the hospital is supplied by Mid-American Energy, officials said.

    University Hospitals remains up and operational. Temporary boilers are in place at the hospital and another one is being installed right now. The hospital also has emergency generators ready in case power fails.

    A backup steam boiler, which was on its way Friday but stuck in transit due to I-80 closures, has now arrived and is online. No functionality has been lost. Steam is especially crucial to the U of I Hospitals and Clinics because it is needed to power sterilization processes used in operating rooms for surgeries.

    The power plant, which was taking on water in its basement as of last night, is located on the swollen Iowa River.

    Crews desperately pumped water from the basement of the Adler Journalism Building, a $20 million facility opened in 2005.

    The building houses the newsroom of the Daily Iowan, a newspaper circulated around campus and throughout Iowa City. Bill Casey, the paper's publisher for more than 30 years, sweated alongside reporters and editors to move expensive equipment and computers to higher ground.

    "I've heard there'll be 2 feet, and I've heard there'll be 10 feet in our newsroom, but we're going elsewhere, and we'll continue to publish," Casey said.
    Coast Guard deployed

    The U.S. Coast Guard has deployed two disaster response teams with about 15 people to Iowa City to conduct search and rescue missions if floodwaters from the Iowa River swamp the city and residents become stranded.

    Additional Coast Guard teams in the Midwest are on standby to respond to Iowa if needed, said Lt. Christian Barger, a Coast Guard spokesman in St. Louis, Mo. The teams in Iowa City will also be available to help in Cedar Rapids, he added.

    Each of the teams is equipped with three flat-bottom boats, known as “flood punts,” which have outboard motors that can move quickly through flood waters, Barger said.

    After Hurricane Katrina, the St. Louis-based teams were sent to New Orleans where they helped with rescue efforts. More recently, they helped to rescue more than 100 people in southeast Missouri after flooding this spring.

    “We do have great success with teams. They are there to rescue people from their homes in shallow water that would otherwise be inaccessible to other boats,” Barger said.

    The teams will also be available to transport public officials through floodwaters to government buildings and facilities, such as water treatment plants.
    The Coast Guardsmen are working in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, As the severity of the state’s flooding moves into southern Iowa, the Coast Guard teams will head south to help as needed, Barger said.

    The city expected Friday to close every bridge, rendering travel between Iowa City's east and west sides impossible.
    Keeping the hospitals running

    Donald Gucker, associate vice president for facilities management, said that the U of I is "racing against time and water" to keep its steam power, electricity, and water supplies operating. Power was being shut down at many campus buildings, and rationing systems may soon be implemented for water and energy, in order to keep U of I Hospitals running.

    "Right now UIHC and our essential services are number one," Gucker said.

    The hospital was in "emergency command" mode with 630 patients and 680 open beds. A full surgical schedule was followed, said John Robillard, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Carver College of Medicine.

    Residents of nearly 400 units at university-owned Hawkeye Court apartments were evacuated Thursday, joining the Mayflower campus dormitory's 100 residents, who were evacuated more than a week ago, U of I spokeswoman Linda Kettner said.
    Mandatory evacuation

    City Manager Michael Lombardo said an estimated 500 non-university homes and businesses in Iowa City - on top of roughly 55 in Coralville - were under mandatory, indefinite evacuation. Besides in those areas, significant power outages had not been reported for Iowa City, and the water supply remained secure, Lombardo said.

    Travel to and from Interstate Highway 80 from Coralville's First Avenue, and from Iowa City's Dubuque Street, has been completely shut down. If Iowa Highway 1, the only remaining thoroughfare to I-80, is closed, the area will be essentially cut off from the rest of the state.
    The Army Corps of Engineers informed the city Friday that the river may rise an additional 5 feet - to 35 feet, 7 feet above 1993 levels - before cresting Monday. The outflow from the spillway was expected to climb to 25,000 cubic feet per second by Friday, then to 30,000 cfs by Tuesday.


    Let my Fred's Posse Ride: Georges, Naz, Hogue, Bryce, Nader, Monte, Matt, and McKay.

  4. #4
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    Re: Flood Update DsM and CR

    BBC NEWS | Have Your Say | Eyewitness: Swamped by Iowa flood

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/us...=1&oref=slogin

    Cedar Rapids flood recedes; Des Moines levee fails

    washingtonpost.com

    Iowa Cities Deluged - News Story - WMAQ | Chicago

    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/stor...1-floods_N.htm
    The turmoil in the nation's breadbasket led the Agriculture Department this week to shave 3% from this year's corn crop prediction, a rare move so early in the season. Corn topped $7 a bushel for the first time as heavy rains in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin — combined with growing demand for corn-based ethanol — pushed prices up.
    "It's clearly a panic situation," said Gary Rhea, president of Risk Management Partners, a marketing firm here.
    As much as one-quarter of the crops in the southern third of Wisconsin may be gone, said Paul Zimmerman of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. "We're talking a couple hundred thousand acres of corn that could be in jeopardy" and a comparable amount of soybeans, he said.
    Shipments of corn, grain and other farm commodities have been hit. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned to close a 200-mile stretch of the upper Mississippi River between St. Louis and Rock Island, Ill., beginning today after rising water flooded locks and dams along the critical route for shipping grain and other cargo.
    Ron Fournier, a Corps spokesman, said the section will be closed at least two weeks. He said any barges that don't get through the locks Wednesday night are "going to get stuck wherever they are."
    The closing halted barge traffic as far north as Minneapolis and stopped the transport of as much as 135,000 tons of cargo a day, 80% of it grain heading downriver. Coal, fuel and fertilizer headed upriver also were stranded.
    "There will be a significant backlog," said Steve Jones, a navigation manager for the Corps, which last halted river traffic in late April and early May but historically has shut down commerce only once a decade.
    Levees at increasing risk
    As the torrent kept raining on Iowa, forecasters predicted the deluge would continue into next week. Records set in 1993, when devastating floods breached hundreds of levees and left 50 people dead and 55,000 homes damaged or destroyed, were swamped by new high-water marks along the Cedar, Iowa and Des Moines rivers.
    The Iowa River in Iowa City was predicted to crest to 32 feet by early next week, shattering the record of 28.52 feet set 15 years ago.
    The worst flooding is still ahead as rivers continue to rise until early Saturday, said Dan Luna, a hydrologist at the North Central River Forecast Center in Chanhassen, Minn. "Any time rivers stay that high for that level of time the risk of levee failure increases," he said.
    The National Weather Service predicted clear skies Saturday before showers and thunderstorms return next week. Even if no more rain falls, said John Castle, a project operations manager with the Army Corps of Engineers, river levels aren't likely to return to normal until mid- or late July.
    The soggy skies are the latest in a 3-month-old weather pattern that has pummeled the eastern Plains and Midwest with air flowing up from the Gulf of Mexico. That "has led to a lot of rain being dumped" across the region, said Brad Rippey, a federal meteorologist in Washington, D.C.
    Some of the worst flooding has been in Indiana, where President Bush on Sunday declared 29 counties disaster areas, making federal funding available for the cleanup. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has asked that 15 more counties in the central and southern part of the state be added.


    Let my Fred's Posse Ride: Georges, Naz, Hogue, Bryce, Nader, Monte, Matt, and McKay.

  5. #5
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    Re: Flood Update DsM and CR

    Thanks for the update.

    Interestingly enough, stories about Iowa are still dominating International and European news.


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    Re: Flood Update DsM and CR

    You've had quite a bit of water your way this spring as well, haven't you? My friends in Baden-Baden(and actually it made the US news shockingly enough) informed me that their area was quite flooded.



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    Re: Flood Update DsM and CR

    I should be getting my first look at my flood damaged property this afternoon, after a town hall meeting at noon.

    I am both looking forward to seeing it, but dreading the amount of work it will take to clean up.



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    Re: Flood Update DsM and CR

    We're up in the Oberpfalz, in the Jura mountains. While Germany has received some serious precipitation, we really don't notice it, as our soil is like 6 inches thick and is solid rock underneath. Everything just runs off.

    I also think weather patterns haven't been hitting this part as hard as the rest of Germany, but I've been doing 90+ hour weeks for over a year now, and just cannot get away to see the rest of Germany.


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    Re: Flood Update DsM and CR

    Here comes the rain again!


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