CR flood, Friday

Photo intern Courtney Sargent and I were on the early flood shift.. I had been on the west side of town for two days, where residences seem hardest hit, so I handed that side off to Courtney while I began walking the east side of the river. What we encountered was.. a real slowing-down. The river was expected to crest Friday afternoon (and it did, above 31 feet, well above the 20-foot record, and five feet above where it was expected to crest), so now it's mostly a matter of waiting. I climbed to the top of the Mercy Hospital parking garage (four flights of stairs in chest waders is a great workout, by the way) to check out the scene from above, then took the wrong door down and ended up in the hospital, where they were setting up sump pumps to keep the ground floor as dry as possible. The hospital had been evacuated over night.

After getting back to the office and filing, I headed up in GazComm president Chuck Peters' Cessna for a view of the flooding from above. I alternated between being utterly astounded at what I was seeing, and wishing I hadn't eaten such a big breakfast.

Cedar Rapids from above... you can see that all of our bridges are impassible, except the interstate bridge, which is down to two lanes to allow emergency crews through.

Most of Palo is under water.. we have been unable to get there for a couple days now because the roads leading into town are under water. This photo is only one small part of town..

The Iowa River is also flooding right now, and hasn't reached its crest yet. You can see its border snaking through the trees. The farmland and forest near the river have been swallowed by the backwaters as the river nears the Coralville Reservoir.

The reservoir overflowed the spillway earlier this week, meaning there is now no control over its flow. A levee was breached along the Coralville strip Thursday night, leaving the main business district under water.

Iowa City's City Park is right along the river, and is now completely under water. The merry-go-round was a bright spot amidst the muddy floodwater.

I've run out of adjectives.


  1. This is nuts! It must be incredible covering an event like this in your own backyard. Best wishes and try to get a portfolio image out of this. lol.

  2. I love the baseball diamonds. Way to get good stuff when the news comes to you.

  3. damn! Glad you are alright, well done my friend. Good luck to all you cats getting all that sorted out. this is pretty heavy stuff. be thinking about you.