Trouble RIght Here in River City

Yeah, this is bad. I’m constantly checking for the NOAA NWS Advanced Hydrologic Report for the Iowa River at Iowa City on my iPhone. Here’s what it looked like just after the peak of the flood. There was a data outage on Friday but is fairly accurate otherwise. Earlier predictions set a projected peak over 33ft.

The Hydrology Report shows the recent peak at 31.5. The floodwater is receding, but we’re still not lower than the previous record 1993 flood stage of 28.5ft.


Floodwaters are receding, and everything is covered with a toxic muck. The environment is filthy, everything is covered with sludge, the smell is horrible, there are flies and gnats everywhere. It’s going to take a lot of cleanup. The Coralville Municipal Water supply comes from the Iowa River, it was always bad, but now it’s horrible, full of minerals and chlorine. I ran some hot tap water to wash some dishes and just about choked on the fumes.

There are National Guard crews stationed around town near critical infrastructure, and almost every local cop and first-responder is on double duty. All the flooded areas are still off-limits, water on the roads is receding but only official vehicles are allowed to pass. It’s hard to tell where the worst damage is, yet. The area near me was the first to flood and the hardest hit, it will be the last to dry out.

The University of Iowa Arts campus is underwater. The old campus was damaged severely in ’93, and a new building was constructed across the street to replace it. Unfortunately the architect forgot the primary design goal: the new building was supposed to be built at a higher elevation than the flood plain.

But what really got to me was the story of the Oakville Pigs. The Des Moines Register reported that hog farms were flooded, most of the pigs drowned but some made their way to the nearest high ground: the levee. They could not get across, their hooves threatened to rip the sandbags and breach the levee. Nobody could rescue them without risking the levee, so the Sherrifs had to shoot them with AR-15 rifles. Poor pigs, they struggled to dry land, just to get shot.

My internet connection is intermittently failing, so I’ll try to get this online and post more later, when I have some free time (which is very rare lately).

One thought on “Trouble RIght Here in River City”

  1. That tore me up, too. Isn’t that something?
    I’m astonished that the university would put in a new building on the same flood plain. What incompetence.
    I’m glad you were above the waters, but I am so sorry that you’re going to have to put up with the fumes and the mess.
    Now the hard questions come: which communities should be rebuilt, which levees bolstered, and how many people should be bought out for additional undeveloped flood plains.

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