“Iowa, Jones, Cedar counties are virtually impassable” ~ headline from [Cedar Rapids] Gazette
“Photos, videos and words cannot express the true horror, shock and devastation that’s going on here. This is not just some knee high deep water around town.” ~ comment on ABC News
Rick Sebak’s brush with a tornado in Iowa was but one example of the severe weather to slam the state. As he notes, much worse has happened, including the deaths of four Boy Scouts at a camp near Nebraska. The state suffered severe storms on Wednesday and Thursday and more rain is forecast. Iowa Governor Chet Culver said that with nine rivers at near record levels, dozens of bridges have been destroyed; he has declared 55 out of Iowa’s 99 counties state disaster areas and says infrastructure repair costs will run into hundreds of millions of dollars. Flooding is widespread, especially in Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second largest city, and site of the 2006 Lincoln Highway Association national conference. Here’s a screen shot of the main headline at the GazetteOnline – click it to read the numerous stories.
More than 100 city blocks were inundated after the Cedar River broke its bank – see aerial footage HERE. About 8,000 people were evacuated, many being rescued by boat. The flooding extends to neighborhoods too. This morning, the water supply is critically low. Click HERE for urgent news updates (replacing the city’s normal home page) or HERE for ABC News coverage.
Lisa Fox, vice-president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, told Reuters news agency, “It hits everything. Colleges are shut down, stores, it’s devastating,” Crops are also being ruined. Brian Pierce, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Davenport, told the AP, “We are seeing a historic hydrological event taking place with unprecedented river levels occurring…. We’re in uncharted territory – this is an event beyond what anybody could even imagine.”