Friday, June 13, 2008

Flood update

It's been quite a whirlwind around here, and that's the main reason I haven't updated my blog about the flood situation. There is so much to say, so much that has happened. As of right now, Waterloo is doing much better. The downtown area (near the river) has been closed for a few days and all the downtown bridges were closed. Also, the two main highways that head north out of town have been inaccessible. All of this has obviously caused a lot of headaches for a lot of people! I've been having to go east or west in order to find highways that are open so I can then go north, in order to come back east or west to reconnect with the highways that are open further north. It's been very surreal driving down county highways that normally have very little traffic, and seeing miles and miles of slow moving traffic at various times of the day.

Wednesday night was probably the most scary night for us. The evening began with storm watches and tornado watches (conditions favorable for thunderstorms and tornados), as well as many flood watches and warnings. Eventually the thunderstorm and tornado watches turned into warnings, which means that there were actual storms and tornadoes. We had packed a suitcase full of necessities just in case the floods came our way, and the kids had packed backpacks full of stuff they wanted to save, but now we were torn whether or not to keep the stuff by the door (in case of floods) or in the basement (in case of a tornado)! Around 1am there was a severe thunderstorm warning, with reported winds in excess of 70mph, and possible tornado conditions, so we woke the kids up and brought them downstairs. Eventually we brought them back to their beds but I stayed up till about 3:30 just to keep an eye on the flood/storm situation.

Current conditions: I just heard that a couple of the downtown bridges have reopened, and one of the highways is now freely accessible, so that should clear up a lot of the problem.

However... all of this said, the headaches from trying to get around are nothing compared to those who have their houses and businesses under water. In Waterloo/Cedar Falls, the water is going down in many places, and if that continues it will now be a matter of people going back to their homes and businesses to assess the damage.

To the south and southwest of us, in cities such as Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Des Moines, as well as many, many smaller towns, the water situation seems to be much worse. I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it all so I won't go into detail. As you can imagine, the flooding of even a small part of a major city can wreak havoc. I know all of this has been on the national news, so you can imagine how "big" all of this is.

To the north, there have also been many problems. In my old hometown of Waverly, the house I used to live in is right across from the river. The water came at least seven blocks from the normal river bank so obviously that house was majorly affected.

On a lighter note... Due to the flood situation, our dog Puppa has been enjoying (hopefully) his extended stay with Chico. Chico is my wife's parents' dog. We left Puppa with them last Wednesday (9 days ago) before our trip out of town. They live about an hour north of us. Tracey planned to get him on Monday when we came back, but due to heavy rain on Sunday night and uncertain road conditions, she decided to wait. Then came the beginning of the major flooding, beginning on Monday evening, and we just haven't been able to get there since that time!

Puppa is older than Chico. Chico is still basically a pup, and Puppa is nine years old. So let's just say that Chico likes to play a lot more than Puppa does! That's why I say Puppa is "hopefully" enjoying his extended stay. The dogs get a long well for the most part, but yet Puppa will head underneath the kitchen table quite often to go into hiding. :)

Thanks to all of you for your prayers. My family is doing fine, so please pray for all of those around us. I just read that 83 of Iowa's 99 counties have been declared disaster areas. That's a lot of people who have been affected by all this.


  1. Wow Joel, I am glad to hear you and your family are safe and the doggies!

    I am praying for a quick and steady recovery for those who are completely effected by the flood damages!

    Thanks for the update!

    Love always your sister, Nicole!

  2. So glad to hear you guys are safe, Joel. I have been praying for you and your wife and kids. I know there are many people affected by the flood. I am praying for them as well but my brothers and sisters in Christ come first!