>Yesterday I prayed a lot while I watched live footage of Cedar Rapids flooding on the Channel 9 website and anxiously waited to hear from my son who was working feverishly with other company management personnel to remove computer server equipment from their downtown Cedar Rapids office before flood waters reached the building.
Shortly after they left the area, the street they used to get out was under water. As my son crawled through clogged traffic toward home, he called me to tell me what he was seeing.
“There is basically no downtown,” he said. “For the last half hour, it’s been a lake on both sides of the interstate with just the tall buildings and trees sticking up out of the water. You know the Dairy Queen on First Avenue? Well, it’s completely under water.”
Today’s Cedar Rapids Gazette tells the same story: the city is “No longer an island.” It is a lake.
Although the infamous flood of 1993 caused unprecedented damage and is known as the worst Midwestern flood in modern history, the flooding now in Cedar Rapids far exceeds 1993. The Cedar River’s 1993 crest was 19.27 feet. Early this morning the Cedar River was at 30.9 feet and is expected to crest today at about 32 feet. That’s almost thirteen feet above the crest of 1993!
The devastation is unbelievable. About 100 city blocks are under water. About 8,000 people have been evacuated from almost 4,000 homes. A railroad bridge loaded with train cars has collapsed. The hospital mentioned as being evacuated in this Associated Press report, must be Mercy Hospital, according to a report on Cedar Rapid’s Channel 2’s website.
Cedar Rapids normally has six or more wells providing water to the metropolitan area, but now only one well is functioning. And that solitary well is operating on generators in a precarious sandbagged area. Residents of the entire metropolitan area are being asked to forego using any water except for necessary drinking.
Yesterday my daughter-in-law purchased several bottles and jugs of drinking water. My son’s family does not live far from the 500-year flood plain, but their only damage so far has been some water in their basement.
The link for live footage is not available this morning on the KCRG-TV9 website, but that’s understandable since their office building was in the mandatory evacuation area and was being flooded last evening. I suppose they were forced to leave and must now broadcast from an alternative location.
River levels are rising all over the Midwest. Cities, towns, highways, railroads, and farmland are being flooded. Cedar Rapids suffered from continual rain for days causing an amazing and unanticipated rapid rise in flood waters.
As my sister said, speaking from her deck overlooking a lake that was recently their planted farmland, “It makes you understand how the whole world could flood in just forty days.”
God’s gracious sustaining hand keeps such so-called “500-year” floods from being a regular occurence. And His hand of mercy sustains us through the stressful days of our earthly pilgrimage.