Which first? Well I’ll just tell it all as it comes out. We have our first flood related death. Not sure how it happened, but a lady was found dead in her flooded basement.
It will now take appx. 4 hours (without traffic) to allow people to go from CR to Iowa City. Normally a 1/2 hour trip, because of closing of a 6 mile stretch. There are apparently county or country roads to go around shorter, but no one knows if they are open or flooded or what, so the DOT is recommending the trip up and over and down to Des Moines then down and over . Crazy. The same if you want to go back. With traffic, they expect a minimum of a 6 hour trip. 281 miles one way.
The Cedar River at CR has gone down a full block overnight.
However, raw sewage is getting poured into the flood water, of course. Gas stations are under, so some gas and other fuel is kind of ‘into’ the water. I don’t think you’d want to strike a match.
The TV stations were mostly all downtown and were running on generator power. The one we watched in particular literally had to be “in a van down by the river” to broadcast until they could get equipment set up in a new location (that’s a Chris Farley reference from a popular evening show called Saturday Night live from the 1990’s, by the way).
The best news of all is that so far, there has been no confirmed case of looting or other ridiculous post-disaster behavior. No lawlessness, no harassing of volunteer shelter workers, etc. I fully ‘blame’ the TV stations and radios for that, as they have made it VERY clear how easy it is to get to a shelter, you can be picked up by boat even if you’re stuck in a flooded area, and the outpouring of community support has really made a difference. People were warned well in advance to gather their things and get out. Most of them followed the heed and asked for help if they need it. As far as community support goes: people are dropping off food to shelters, donating 100s of new pillows when the request went out on the TV/radio for pillows needed, and just in general helping out. I mentioned the additional sandbagging outpouring help yesterday.
I’m sure there was not the widespread poverty as in N’Awlins (referring to Hurricane Katrina), but then again, a lot of the looting taking place there was people stealing tvs, handfuls of sports jerseys, etc. I think that there was a certain level of poverty in the downtown area of CR, but perhaps not the ‘entitlement’ that was seen in the people looting in NO. I pray that it continues that way. That’s what’s made this whole thing bearable is knowing that the people are being smart, taking help offered and not getting all ‘entitled’ about it. Everyone else not evacuated is helping out by volunteering, using less electricity and water, and giving donations. True midwestern spirity shining through.