Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Water, water, everywhere

This has certainly been "our year." By "our" I mean those of us in northeast Iowa, in Iowa in general and in the midwest in general. We've had the kind of weather that we usually only see on TV. Everything from major snow and ice throughout the winter and early spring, severe thunderstorms, killer tornadoes... and now major flooding.

For those of us in Waterloo, Iowa (where I live) and our neighbors in Cedar Falls, we're up to here in water, literally. I really am too tired to take the time to tell all about it. I'll just say that not only have people been talking about this being a "100-year flood," but some have been using the term "500-year flood." It's that bad. As I was listening to the radio two or three hours ago, they said the Cedar River's record was about 21 feet, and now it was at 24 feet and rising. It's expected to crest tonight or tomorrow morning at 26 feet.

The levy in Cedar Falls broke earlier today, and they have been evacuating part of the population. 15 miles to the north of Cedar Falls, in Waverly (where I lived during my teen years and early 20's), they've also been evacuating people. The house that I used to live in, next door to my dad's old church, is right across the street from the river. I was in Waverly today as part of my job, and it appeared to me that the flooding had reached at least 7 blocks from the river.

One of my coworkers has pretty much lost her house in the flood. Actually she's one of many of my coworkers affected by the flood, but she's one of my closer coworkers who I see daily. When they show helicopter flyovers on the news and you see miles of houses under water - hers is one of those. Another one of my coworkers, the hospital mechanic, had to be rescued by a boat. He moonlights at home, working on cars in his garage. Guess who has a car at his house waiting to be worked on? I'll have to find out in the next day or two if my car is ok.

Right now our county (and many surrounding counties) is in a flood warning. We live about a mile or two from the Cedar River, and less than that from the levy. If the water level should rise too high, we'll be on the move. We've got some things packed and ready to go just in case. Hopefully that won't happen. Too many houses have already been flooded. As I said, I'm pretty tired. I've really only hit the tip of the iceberg in describing all that's going on here.

It took me over an hour today just to get out of town for my job to head north to Waverly, as I kept running into road blocks and water over the roads. After all that, I then had to get back into town in order to go to a couple of towns to the south. It was quite a day, to say the least. All my words here don't even begin to describe what's really happening here in northeast Iowa.

Just about an hour or two ago, my wife's parents were in a tornado warning. They live about an hour north of us. The tornado was barely to the northeast of their house and they are ok. My nephew and his wife were driving home during this time and they spotted the tornado and took pics. I'll see if I can have them send them to me. Here's one link to the story.

Here are some links to a few pics from today in Waterloo:
Downtown Waterloo 1
Downtown Waterloo 2 - 4th Street bridge
Downtown Waterloo 3 - We go under this overpass on the way to daycare. We obviously couldn't do that today and I ended up bringing my kids to my wife's work.
Flood gate in Waterloo - Just over 1 mile from our house.

Tomato warning
Jars of Clay - Flood


  1. Water in Waterloo?

    You have water - Lou!!!

    I liked the 4th bridge pic.

    You may want to send some of this stuff to California - they are always complaining they don't have enough.

  2. Hey Joel.

    Sorry about all of this. I will be praying for you and your family. The weather everywhere is insane. I really believe this could be the beginning of the birth pangs.

  3. Joel, we've been watching the news and I was wondering how badly you were affected. Wow!! You've had a rough year already and now this.

    Please keep us posted when you can. I'll be praying for you, Little Brother.


  4. Hey Joel!

    Dude, I am so sorry to hear about the weather you are getting! I will pray that Father will protect you and your family and your house!

    You are covered in prayer my brother!

    In Freedom, Nicole!

  5. Joel,

    Hope you are okay. Saw the news on the television. I will keep you in prayers.

  6. Just wanted to say again that I'm praying for you and your family, Joel.

    Grace and peace

  7. Wow, my friend.
    Praying for you.
    Hope all is well.

  8. Thank you, everybody, for your prayers and concern! The good news is that so far our house has not been affected, and we're not expecting it to, but with more heavy rain having fallen up north (and nowhere to go but south) and some more rain coming our way, you just never know.

    The bad news is that thousands of people, including many of our friends and coworkers, have been affected. Their houses are either completely ruined or badly damaged.

    My job has been affected by the floods. A few main highways have been closed so I've had to find alternate routes. On Tuesday, my usual 130 mile route was closer to 200 miles.

    Countless people are also having to find alternate routes just for normal daily activities. All but two of Waterloo's bridges have been closed for 3 days, so you can imagine the headaches that is causing.

    Other cities are affected even worse. Cedar Rapids and Des Moines are major cities that are badly affected by the flooding.

    I'll try to post an update soon.

    Thanks again, so much, for sharing your concerns.

  9. Thanks for checking in, Joel, and keeping us posted. I'm glad you're okay. How's your buddy Mike Kapler doing?


  10. Joel,
    Glad you are okay. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

  11. Aida,

    Thanks for asking about Mike. Mike's house is up and away from the flooded areas. On Wednesday he told me that the place where he works, which is near downtown, had water coming up to the building. One of his coworkers went out and purchased a pair of waders so he could get in. At this time I'm not sure if there was any water damage.

  12. I'm glad Mike's okay. We love him too. Tell him he's in my prayers.