Swollen Cedar River Floods Iowa Cities

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Swollen Cedar River Floods Iowa Cities
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91488984

All Things Considered, June 13, 2008 · In Iowa, much of the state is under a disaster declaration. Flooding, approaching and topping historic levels in some areas, sweeps through the state. More than 400 city blocks are under water in Cedar Rapids. And as the swollen Cedar River continues to overflow its banks, more than 3,000 homes and a downtown hospital have been evacuated.
The middle (midwest) part of the country has been getting hammered by storms recently. Apparently tornadic activity may set a record this year, and flooding in some cases is setting records.

One other serious side effect -
WEATHER SLAMS CORN CROP
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91488987
All Things Considered, June 13, 2008 · Rains drenching the upper Midwest for the past two months are driving up the price of a commodity used in everything from cold cereal to soft drinks, livestock feed and gasoline. Unless the region dries up quickly, nearly everyone is going to pay the price. Frank Morris of member station KCUR reports.
The price of corn could approach $8/bushel, and some in Congress are rethinking the use of corn for ethanol.

Corn rises for eighth day to new high of $7.375
Analysts say futures could touch $8 a bushel as flooding getting worse
Damage from the floods could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the National Weather Service said on its Web site Friday. Officials in some areas fear the floods could be the worst since 1993.

Corn futures for July delivery rose 22.75 cents, or 3.2%, to close at $7.3175 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, after jumping to the new intraday high of $7.375 earlier. Corn futures have been rising since June 3 and are now nearly 20% higher.

"The rain damaged a lot of crops, and it looks like the flooding is going to continue," said Phillip Streible, senior market strategist at futures brokerage Lind-Waldock. Corn futures could rise above $8 at the beginning of the next month, he said.

AccuWeather.com warned that severe storms will continue to pummel the Midwest through Friday evening. Thunderstorms and tornadoes are forecast to threaten areas from the central Great Lakes to the border of Oklahoma and Texas.
 

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  • #2
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I live, work, and go to school in central Iowa. I drive through des moines every day for school.

There are huge sections of the state totally underwater, it's scary to see how much has been totally engulfed.

There are TONS of fields totally underwater. I drove by about two miles of corn fields today, and the 6ft fence that surronds them couldn't be seen due to the water levels.

I have some pictures, I might upload a few later. I'm truly lucky my house is nowhere near any major bodies of water.
 
  • #3
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Yeah, I also had to choose central Iowa for grad school...

It's actually sort of interesting for me, seeing familiar parks, golf courses, etc. all resembling lakes. I suppose I would be more personally annoyed if I lived on lower ground. So far it's just been minor inconveniences for me, having to take detours when I'm driving around. No one I know had to evacuate or anything, and as far as I know there haven't been any injuries or deaths. Heck, most of the parks have been drained by now, and are more or less accessible. I guess we got off easy.
 
  • #4
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They evacuated a nice chunk of des moines this morning.

The rain seems to be pretty much over however, so things should start drying up soon.
 
  • #5
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Now the problem just starts moving downstream. Problems for people all the way down the Mississippi.

This is the worst flooding in the Midwest I've seen since 1993. I was lucky to get through Des Moines that year. The interstate had been closed until the day before my trip and it started raining again the day I drove through Des Moines.
 
  • #6
Astronuc
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In Midwest, Rising Waters and Fears of Worse
By SUSAN SAULNY and MONICA DAVEY, NYTimes
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/14/us/14midwest.html
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — All around the Midwest, the water just kept rising.
Even as this city was nearly shuttered on Friday, its sandbagged downtown submerged in the biggest flood ever recorded here, people in Des Moines began evacuating and other Iowa towns thought about it. In Wisconsin, stretches of major roads were closed and tornadoes struck. Some in Michigan had no power. Elsewhere, there was no train service, no drinking water, no end in sight.

The economic costs of the devastating floods were also beginning to seep in: tourism officials, who depend on the short summers, were bracing for washed-out seasons; farmers in many states stared out at ponds that had once been their fields of beans and corn; and officials were preparing to shut down 315 miles of the Mississippi River, a crucial route for millions of tons of coal, grains and steel.

By now, one prospect — a notion no one wants to ponder but is impossible to avoid — has begun to emerge in Iowa, as well as in Indiana, Minnesota and Illinois: the possibility that this summer might prove to be something like 1993, when the torment of flooding resulted in widespread personal misery and loss, as well as economic cost of $20 billion.

“Right now, we can’t see anything as devastating as 1993 along the Mississippi, but we’re gearing up,” said Ron Fournier, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers’ district in the central Midwest, which just ordered three million more sandbags, 25 large pumps and a vast array of extra supplies.

“The hard part is as simple as not knowing how much rain we’ll get,” Mr. Fournier said. “Beyond what we saw 24 hours ago, and what we predict in the next 24 hours, we just don’t know what’s coming. We want the rain to stop.”

In this eastern Iowa city of more than 120,000, the rain had stopped by early Friday morning. In fact, the sun was out. But as the Cedar River crested at more than 31 feet — far higher than it had been in 1993, when it reached more than 19 feet — residents, rain-weary after several drenching weeks, seemed skeptical of the authorities’ suggestion that the worst might be over.

“If there’s one more drop of rain, I’ll be looking to pack up some stuff,” said Fernando Albino, 36, who sat outside his second-floor apartment, staring at the lapping waters just down the block.

Lia Mikesell took her three children on a walk to the water near their apartment building, and reflected back on 1993. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” she said.

. . . .
I imagine that the cost will be more than the 1993 flood if this continues. A lot has developed in the last 15 years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_2008_Midwest_floods

Could be more severe flooding downriver.
 
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  • #7
Astronuc
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June 16, 2008
In Midwest Floods, a Broad Threat to Crops
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/16/us/16midwest.html
By SUSAN SAULNY
NEWHALL, Iowa — Here, in some of the best soil in the world, the stunted stalks of Dave Timmerman’s newly planted corn are wilting in what sometimes look more like rice paddies than the plains, the sunshine glinting off of pools of collected water. Although time is running out, he has yet to plant all of his soybean crop because the waterlogged soil cannot support his footsteps, much less heavy machinery.

Mr. Timmerman’s small farm has been flooded four times in the past month by the Wildcat Creek, a tributary of the Cedar River which overflowed its banks at a record 31 feet last week, causing catastrophic damage in nearby Cedar Rapids and other eastern Iowa towns and farmsteads.

“In the lean years, we had beautiful crops but they weren’t worth much,” Mr. Timmerman said, surveying his farm, which his family has tended since his great-great-grandfather. “Now, with commodity prices sky high, mother nature is throwing us all these curve balls. I’m 42 years old and these are by far the poorest crops I’ve ever seen.”

And he added, “It’s going downhill by the day.”
. . . .
The Iowa River flooded parts of University of Iowa, and the Cedar River flooded Cedar Rapids. However, downstream from these places are many other communities that face floodings, particular toward and along the Mississippi River.

The floods have affected farming areas in "the farming states of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota have suffered an unusual level of flooding this year."

At a moment when corn should be almost waist-high here in Iowa, the country’s top-producing corn state, more than a million acres have been washed out and destroyed.

Beyond that, agriculture experts estimate that 2 million acres of soy beans have been lost to water, putting the state’s total grain loss at 20 percent so far, with the threat of more rain to come.
And it's not over.
 

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