Flood Aftermath

Things are, very slowly, getting back to normal around the Cedar Rapids area. There are still many people who can’t return to their homes and a significant number of homes that will be totally demolished.

Roads that had been submerged are being repaired and power to the worst hit areas has mostly been restored. Neighborhoods that used sandbags in attempt to hold back the water now have mountains of them waiting for removal.

Thousands of houses and apartments had water damage to one extent or another. As a result there is a huge overload of trash consisting of waterlogged furniture, carpets, clothing and other household items. Among this trash are appliances of all types – washers, dryers, water heaters, air conditioners, and other major items. All around the area are temporary trash dumps where these items are being collected.

Appliance graveyard

Above is a picture was taken near the town of Palo which was completely flooded. Normally this is a corn field but now it has been pressed into service as a temporary dump.  Just trying to imagine the replacement costs is mind boggling.

Household trash

Here’s another shot of the temporary dump for non-metallic flood refuse. This was 10 or so times larger than the appliance pile. You can judge the size by the dump truck in the image.

The cleanup and reconstruction is going to take years and some towns and neighborhoods will never be the same.

Here’s an update on the twin fawns mentioned previously. The local paper today reported that the DNR did rescue them from where they were trapped by the flood. They were then relocated to a local wildlife shelter.

Hooray! Sometimes things do work out for the better.

I’ve recently received a number of calls and emails from friends, wondering if we are involved in the flooding here in East-Central Iowa. The answer is “yes and no”. Our house is at a high enough elevation that it isn’t likely we will get flood water. On the other hand we are semi-isolated from the surrounding towns because of road closures. With luck we will be be able to restock our food supplies soon, once more roads open up. We have plenty of food on hand now, a generator in case of power loss and (obviously) our internet connection. Still is is sort of worrisome when running in to the store is not an option.

Because of the road closures, I have not been able to get any photos of the worst flooding and, frankly, the gawkers have been a serious problem in this disaster. I have resisted the temptation to stick myself and my camera into the already confused and congested situation. I don’t know how long this link will be valid but here is an article with photos concerning the situation in Vinton, our county seat.

Anyway, we are high, dry and safe for the time being. The water levels in the immediate area are dropping and travel options should be improving. As long as we don’t get more rain we will be okay.

It is going to be a long time before this part of Iowa is back to normal but I am sure everyone will persevere. Once things settle down somewhat I will try to report more with photos. In anyone wants any specific information, don’t hesitate to post a question and I’ll try to respond.

Flood Victims

The nasty weather mentioned previously has produced severe flooding of rivers and streams in my area. This morning I went out to a site along the nearby Cedar River where members of ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) were monitoring the change in the river level to help predict flooding downstream. Not only are people victims of this flooding, but wildlife is also affected. At the monitoring site (which was surrounded on three sides by water) were these twin fawns.

Twin Fawns

There was no sign of their mother and I fear she was lost in the flooding, or maybe just unable to reach her offspring. I was told that the fawns have been in that area for at least two days, confined between the water and a nearby county blacktop. The DNR has been contacted but it is not known if they can rescue the pair. If it weren’t illegal, I would have figured out a way to do something for them myself.

Via amateur radio I heard a number of reports of wildlife being forced out of their normal habitat. In some cases the only place left for them to go is onto the roadways. This involved not only deer but smaller animals including snakes and rodents.

Unfortunately the weather is predicted to stay nasty through Friday and the rivers are still rising. A number of towns have issued mandatory evacuation orders for low-lying areas. Not a good situation. Our home is safe as we are on a hill about 50 feet above the normal terrain and at least a mile from the nearest stream of any size.

Nasty Weather

We had some very nasty weather last night. Heavy rain, high winds, lots of lightning. Really lots of lightning. Power went out around 6pm and I got the generator out around 7:30. We took some nearby lightning hits. This morning I am assessing the damage:

-My Linux box is dead. With luck it’s just a power supply.
-The computer I use with my ham radio stuff is also dead.
-Jan’s computer boots but can’t connect to the network.
-My computer also will boot but looks as if its Ethernet card is dead.
-The router is fried.
-Our satellite TV box is also dead.
-The phones upstairs and in my office are dead.
-Answering machine is dead.

Lots of electronics still unchecked – could be more damage. Haven’t gone out to my observatory yet to see what happened out there.

At least it is all stuff that can be replaced and I’ve got the laptop to get online. No visible damage to the house and, other than lack of sleep, Jan, I, and Itty are all fine.

Hope this is the end of the T-storms around here!

When I get a chance I’ll post some pictures of the flooding and other damage around here.

Random Quote #3

“Most neuroses can be traced to the unhealthy habit of wallowing in the troubles of five million strangers.”

Jubal Harshaw in “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert A. Heinlein

This one is a bit cynical but certainly has a grain of truth in it.

Random Quote #2

The standard disclaimer applies: I don’t necessarily agree with all of these quotes, but I find something interesting about them all.

The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts.
Bertrand Russell

This one is particularly appropriate during the election season(s).

Spring 2008

I’m a little late with this post because I was worried that we would have another snow storm just after I posted it. I still may be overconfident but I’ll take the chance.

We had a very hard Winter this year and Spring was late in getting here. But, as far as I can tell, it made it. Here are a few views of things around the house.

Here are the lilacs blooming along the road in front of us. The fragrance was wonderful and every time we had a south wind you could smell them anywhere around the house.

The front of our house

This is a shot of the front of the house, with all the shrubery starting to brighten up. I don’t know the names of these plants – maybe Jan will post a comment and identify them. Off to the left are more lilacs and to the right is the apple tree in bloom.

The apple blossoms were prolific this year. I hope that translates into a huge crop of apples.

Random Quote #1

In an attempt to get a little more content here I’m starting a semi-regular post of interesting, provocative or strange quotations. By way of disclaimer, I don’t necessarily agree with all of these quotes, but I find something interesting about them all. What do you think? So here we go:

But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
— Carl Sagan

I find this quote quite useful when dealing with crackpots who feel persecuted.

Blog Update

I’ve just finished putting my customizations back after upgrading to the latest version of WordPress. I hope I remembered everything. If anyone spots something that doesn’t look right, please leave a comment here.