Back to previous post: An engine that runs on water?

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: John Scalzi Gives You Tomorrow’s Punditry—Today!

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

June 13, 2008

Five Feet High and Rising
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 03:15 PM *

Flooding. Downtown Des Moines is being evacuated even as we speak. Included are all areas in Des Moines’ 500-year floodplain.

400 blocks in Cedar Rapids are under water.

“We are seeing a historic hydrological event taking place with unprecedented river levels occurring,” said Brian Pierce, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Davenport, Iowa. “We’re in uncharted territory — this is an event beyond what anybody could even imagine.”

If you’re affected, recall Tips for an Apocalypse.

Next suggestion, for anyone in a flood zone or near one: Boil your water.

Comments on Five Feet High and Rising:
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 03:28 PM:

Worse, they're down to one working water well, out of six.
Cedar Rapids is well over the 500-year-flood stage.

#2 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 03:29 PM:

It is so weird to see this title with the next one:
"An engine that runs on water?".

I have been following the Midwest flooding very carefully. I live on high ground, but I know plenty of people who don't. So far, the friends and relations have nothing worse than water in basements.

Corn prices are getting, uh, interesting.

#3 ::: Sassy ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 03:39 PM:

I just hope the government treats Iowa better than it did the Gulf Coast, New Orleans in particular.

#4 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 03:47 PM:

Sassy #3
Cedar Rapids has major defense contractor facilities and airplane instruments manufacture.

I suspect that those factors will promote getting prompter more efficacious more competent federal action....

#5 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 03:51 PM:

Bets for the number of years until the next 500 year flood?

#3: Bush isn't running for anything . . . will he bother with a photo-op?

#6 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 03:56 PM:

I'm posting from Iowa City. We're in better shape than Cedar Rapids, and I'm personally lucky in that my house is well away from the flood plain, but I'm still seriously unsettled. The flooding isn't expected to peak until late Monday and by that point there may be no way to cross between the east and west sides of the city. I work in a building near the river--and on the opposite side from my house--and although it's on high ground I suspect I won't be back at my job until late next week at the earliest.

When I was buying groceries this morning the woman running the checkout mentioned she'd moved here from Louisiana after Katrina. I can't imagine how she must feel about all this.

#7 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 03:58 PM:

One data point in response to #5: our last 100-year flood was just 15 years ago.

#8 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:03 PM:

Have that go-bag ready, Wesley. Even if your feet don't get wet, there could be power outages and water problems.

Stay dry!

#9 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:10 PM:

Correction: It's Cedar Rapids that's down to one well.

Photos here

#10 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:18 PM:

Nope, no climate change here. Move along, nothing to see.

What's "Five Feet High and Rising" from? It rings a bell, and I don't know why.

#11 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:19 PM:

I think Johnny Cash said it best:

How high's the water, mama?
Two feet high and risin'
How high's the water, papa?
Two feet high and risin'

We can make it to the road in a homemade boat
That's the only thing we got left that'll float
It's already over all the wheat and the oats,
Two feet high and risin'

How high's the water, mama?
Three feet high and risin'
How high's the water, papa?
Three feet high and risin'

Well, the hives are gone,
I've lost my bees
The chickens are sleepin'
In the willow trees
Cow's in water up past her knees,
Three feet high and risin'

How high's the water, mama?
Four feet high and risin'
How high's the water, papa?
Four feet high and risin'

Hey, come look through the window pane,
The bus is comin', gonna take us to the train
Looks like we'll be blessed with a little more rain,
4 feet high and risin'

How high's the water, mama?
Five feet high and risin'
How high's the water, papa?
Five feet high and risin'

Well, the rails are washed out north of town
We gotta head for higher ground
We can't come back till the water comes down,
Five feet high and risin'

Well, it's five feet high and risin'

#12 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:30 PM:

Holy !@$^%$^$#%.

#13 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:31 PM:

Thanks, Lori. I knew it was a refrain, but I couldn't remember its source.

#14 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Linkmeister, I think I answered your question.

Just got a email from HQ -- DHHS OIG Audit and Investigations in Des Moines were sent home from work at 3pm CDT. So most of the Federal offices must be closed or closing.

#15 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:44 PM:

Des Moines Register link.

Pretty disquieting stuff. My mom lives there (and isn't home just now, darn it). Coincidentally, we were visiting in 1993 when they had the last big floods. We left literally hours before all hell broke loose, when the waste water processing plants were flooded. The plumbing was screwed up for weeks. Flying out and seeing the panorama of fields more or less under water for miles all around was sobering.

#16 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:46 PM:

VERY OFF TOPIC---

Tim Russert has died of a heart attack...

fuck, fuck, FUCK!

#17 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:49 PM:

#8: I'd already decided to leave in case of extended power or water problems (though the city swears the new water plant is safe). The problem is that with all the road closings it might be difficult to find a route out (and my sense of direction is lousy).

#18 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 04:50 PM:

That was how the Great Flood of 1927, one of the greatest of natural disasters, began. Two years of unusually heavy rains flooded the tributaries to the Missouri and Mississippi first.

Which led then, to the secret decision by the bankers and businessmen ro prop up the confidence of their investors by dynamiting the levees downriver from their city and turning 10,000 of their neighbors into refugees. The refugees with very few exceptions were never reimbursed for their lost property and mangled lives. Nor was NO in actual dangers since so many of the levees upriver had already gone. But this decision played a large role in the sense that so many in the Lower 9th have that their communities were deliberately destroyed when the levees failed in 2005.

See Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, by John Barry. He also gives an account how African Americans were then enslaved in Mississippi and Louisiana to try and stave off the flooding, and then to clean up the mess afterwards. And then, after, to keep the African Americans from going North to work, because, yanno, they were needed as labor right there.

Love, C.

#19 ::: Clay ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 05:03 PM:

Sassy #3 and Paula #4

I expect the fact that the number of individuals affected by this flooding will be an order of magnitude or so smaller than the number of those affected by Katrina and Rita might help the response and recovery efforts be a little smoother too.

#20 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 05:06 PM:

The problem is that with all the road closings it might be difficult to find a route out

WI's DOT is using Google Maps to keep an updated map of road closings (good thing too, since there are miles and miles of interstate closures). Iowa might be doing the same thing. If they're not, often newspapers will do something similar. US GS topographic maps are available online. They're probably useful for figuring out where high ground is and which roads are safe.

(so far, the flooding in Madison proper isn't all that bad... I'm not holding my breath tho, since we're due for more rain.)

#21 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 05:12 PM:

Google Map road closures for Des Moines. Iowa City may have something similar.

#22 ::: RP ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 05:18 PM:

Half of my dad's (and my childhood) backyard is in the 500-year floodplain in Des Moines, and half of it is about 25 feet up. He says there are no evacuations in his neighborhood - just downtown. The Des Moines Register (www.desmoinesregister.com) has pictures, videos, and lots of updates for expats like me.

What's freaking me out in view of my planned trip out there is that I-80 is closed east of Iowa City, and the detour goes through Dubuque. Just a smidge out of the the way, huh?

I laughed at the huge floodgates and levees around the Des Moines water treatment plant that were installed after 1993. I'm apologizing now.

#23 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 05:20 PM:

DesMoines Register's coverage

I'm struck by the views of the bridges with the deck in the water. That's not a way that bridges like to be. They're not generally designed for water flowing against the side of the superstructure.

(And I'm glad that (I think) all my relatives there are on high ground)

#24 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 05:40 PM:

Those pictures remind me of the Allison flood in Houston a few years ago. I remember going out to look at the 610 feeder bridge near our house, and the water level in the bayou was up to the base of the deck.

What did they finally settle the 1993 flood levels to be? 100-year, 500-year, or what?

#25 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 05:56 PM:

Roger Ebert is my favorite film critic, so I usually check out his site on Fridays.

I kind of wish I'd waited a week or two to read the last line of this review:

We depend on such a superstructure to maintain us that one or two alterations could leave us stranded and wandering through a field, if we are that lucky.

(The film itself doesn't remotely resemble what's happening in the Midwest, but that last thought has many applications.)

#26 ::: Victor Raymond ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 06:23 PM:

I'm on high ground, and the flooding in Ames has subsided for now. Some disturbing things to consider:

- The vast majority of arable land in Iowa is in high-yield crops. And the tiling from that only exacerbates run-off, which means that it is not just storms and weather, but land-use, that is causing the flooding. But try telling that to someone who wants to clear out a marsh so it can be used for biofuel production.

- Communities that learned from '93 have been MUCH better prepared, and those that didn't (like Iowa City) have been paying for that mistake.

But in Ames, things are quiet and relatively dry; we're 30 miles north and upstream from Des Moines, so we're not as affected by that either. The situation in Cedar Rapids is appalling, however. And 100 miles away, so I'm grateful to be elsewhere.

If you can, please donate to the Red Cross. I know they're going to be busy for awhile here.

#27 ::: Carl ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 07:10 PM:

Next suggestion, for anyone in a flood zone or near one: Boil your water.

I dunno... boiling a whole city the size of Cedar Rapids might cause more trouble than just flooding it.

#28 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 08:31 PM:

For Wesley in Iowa City;
How's the situation at the campus? And what about Coralville?
I can't find any info on it, and I have friends there who are out of contact.
(I'm a UI alum...)

#29 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 08:35 PM:

Can we pay Europe to hang on to Bush for a few more days? Really, I don't think I can take his Good-Job-Brownie / We're-Behind-You / Rebuild-Bigger-And-Better Shtick anymore.

#30 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 09:34 PM:

Stefan, based on past performance (which is, of course, no guarantee, etc), he'll be another week getting to Iowa. Somehow I don't think anyone there will be willing to have a fake recovery effort going on for the cameras; I'd hope that if his handlers insist, they, and he, would be tossed into a really muddy spot. Accidentally, of course.

#31 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 09:42 PM:

it's just horrible.

#32 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 09:44 PM:

#28: The buildings near the river have been closed, including the entire arts campus, the main library, and the Mayflower dormitory. There are sandbag walls all along the arts campus which everyone hopes will keep the water away from the buildings, but it's apparently reached the Memorial Union, and I think at least a couple of buildings (I don't recall which) have water seeping into the basements. Classes have been cancelled for the next week and only essential people are going in to work.

At this point it's starting to look like all the bridges across town are going to close, making it impossible to cross the river except on I-80 (which everyone thinks will stay open, but it's been closed off to the east, so who knows). The Park Road bridge is apparently unstable.

The last I heard, the Coralville strip is flooding, and there have been a lot of evacuations, but their water is still safe (as is Iowa City's).

The University has a blog for flood-related announcements. The Iowa City Press-Citizen might also help, and at this point you can find plenty of photos on Flickr by searching for the "iowacity" and "universityofiowa" tags.

#33 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 09:47 PM:

Additional to #32: here are a couple of Iowa City-area blogs that also have some information:

Iowa Liberal
John Deeth Blog

#34 ::: Melissa G. ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 09:48 PM:

Emily @ #20: Iowa DOT has a website that's being updated pretty constantly, but the Google maps part of it is on the "high speed" side, and is being hit by enough folks that I'm getting time-outs trying to look at it.

That being said, I'm in Marion (on the NE side of Cedar Rapids), and have been working on how to get out of town fro a previously planned trip. We were supposed to leave this morning, but, well, our options for getting south and east of here were mostly under water.

For those who haven't found 'em yet, the web presence of the local news outlets:
KGAN (CBS affiliate)
KWWL (NBC affiliate)
KCRG (ABC Affiliate)
And the Cedar Rapids Gazette (includes a free online edition of the print paper)

#35 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 09:55 PM:

One way folks might help is by sending flood buckets. This is through the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Flood Bucket inventory list and instructions.

#36 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 10:00 PM:

Here's the front page of the Iowa City newspaper, received from a friend at school there.

My friend says "the river's expected to go up from 22 feet above flood to 33 feet above by Wed. AM."

He did not mention the campus.

Here's the University of Iowa Flood Information Site, located on Blogspot, which makes me wonder how dry they think their data center will stay. I will pause to shudder like Scalia at the idea of cleaning up that mess. Brrr. Holy shit! And now I'll note the campus is closed.

The University's website says this on the front page:

Individuals whose work place is closed or unavailable will continue to receive their normal earnings for the immediate period (June 13-22). Additional information will be provided to address any period beyond June 22.

That doesn't sound so good, does it?

#37 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 10:08 PM:

And here's a blog entry that gives me a strong feel for what it's like there:

OMG, the old Sutliff Bridge is gone! I just heard it on the radio. Nothing about the flooding so far has hit me in the gut the way Sutliff Bridge's collapse has. We went on so many happy bike rides that ended or passed through the Sutliff area, and we loved that bridge.

I felt faint when I heard the news, almost sick.

She's a good writer.

#38 ::: Sara ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 10:31 PM:

It's surreal living and working on the east side of Iowa City. Absolutely everything is fine. It was a beautiful day. Yet all that water is less than five minutes away.

Tomorrow I have to go to work at 6 am instead of 8 because half the people who were supposed to come in at 6 live on the other side of the closed stretch of I-80. But when I get off, I'm going to find a place to volunteer so I can stop feeling guilty for living on high ground.

#39 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 02:19 AM:

This all is calling out flashbacks to 1993.

I'd just like for the rain to just quit falling but I can't do anything about that.

Good luck to all affected. I'm up on a bluff so except for the water trickle that goes through my basement every time it rains, we're not subject to any kind of flooding.


#40 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 08:04 AM:

#37,
Ah jesus, that was a beautiful place. just beautiful, like something out of a movie about quaint midwestern life, but real. in summer you could buy a bucket of iced down beers and a burger, take them out on the bridge and watch the river roll under your feet while you enjoyed life.
christ, i'm almost in tears.

#41 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 10:42 AM:

They've had a levee break in Des Moines.

#42 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 12:12 PM:

Agriculture and Flooding

Cropped land isn't intrinsically bad as far as run-off is concerned, though changes from previous use can be very significant. If anything, the rate the water can be absorbed by the soil can be higher than for uncultivated land, but once that rate is exceeded the drainage systems can shift a lot more water to somewhere else

That can be a good thing for the crops. Waterlogging can kill the plants. It doesn't even need vast floods. But flashflooding can physically wreck the crop, tearing it out of the ground, dumping a hellish mess of soil and vegetation to clog the drainage systems downstream.

If you thought food prices were getting a bit high, you ain't seen nuthin' yet. Not just grain products, but beef and pork, which depend on grain.

You can farm meat animals on land which won't grow human-edible crops, but it's not really the way to get a lot of meat.

And it's close to harvest: too late for the northern hemisphere to plant more, and the southern hemisphere harvests are half a year away.

It won't even help to give up meat, because the people running the feed-lots can't really stop using grain. You can't switch off farms like factories.

#43 ::: Victor Raymond ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 01:36 PM:

The Birdland neighborhood of Des Moines has been evacuated. There's been a levee breach on the near northside, and North High School has already begun to be flooded. The last time this happened, in 1993, there was considerable damage to buildings in the "500-year" flood plain. Makes you want to drop a zero off that time estimate.

#44 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 03:37 PM:

This is really depressing. I'll stop complaining about the weather in Seattle now.

#45 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 04:08 PM:

Logging in from a coffeeshop near downtown Iowa City, coming off five hours of sandbagging.

It is amazing how many opinions people have abuout sandbags and how well we work together in spite of the guy next to us being WRONG.

The detour going east on 80 is either Burlington or Des Moines. Most roads are closed on the east part of the state.

My building, the Seamans center, was evacuated yesterday. More structural and security-- it's built into the big hill heading to downtown-- than water for most of it. The upper floors will be fine.

People at sandbagging were talking about the Park Bridge as if it's already gone.

Coralville Strip is closed; Coralville Marriot is sandbagging like mad. Much like everyone else.

I am fine and will remain fine. I should probably get going on boiling water and such, in case utilities go, but right now all I can think of is going home, getting a quick shower, and not sandbagging until after dinner. NIght sandbagging is worlds better.

Haven't gotten more than lightheaded, either. There's a lot of effort going into keeping the volunteers alive.

#46 ::: affreca ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 04:21 PM:

Dave #42. Iowa is mostly soybeans and corn, both of which are no where close to harvest time. Harvest is usually September or so. In fact, they could replant up until next week and still have a reasonable expectation of harvest before frost.

However, I don't expect the fields to dry out enough for large machinery in the next week.

#47 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 04:47 PM:

Good luck and good health, Diatryma, and the same for your fellow sandbaggers and neighbors.

#48 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 05:15 PM:

Bless you Diatryma, and intensely wishing good luck to you and all the volunteers.

#49 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 08:37 PM:

Diatryma: I'll echo Clifton: God bless you! Sandbagging is hard, hot work!

#50 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 08:38 PM:

Stefan @29: We don't want him!

#51 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 09:57 PM:

Someone please send some of Iowa's unneeded water down here to NC; we're still in a drought despite our recent rains, and some long soaking events would be much appreciated.

RE: storm water events. Just because a rainfall event is called a "100 year" or "500 year" rainfall doesn't mean it will happen only once in that time period. It's just a method to measure the intensity and amount of rain, based on known past historical evidence. Obviously we don't have 500 years' worth of rainfall data and in some places barely have 100, so those events are really "off the graph" and are estimates at best.

#52 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 10:08 PM:

I lived in Iowa City from age four to age eight--on Plum Street, Pine Street, and in the now-long-gone WWII-era corrugated tin huts used in the 1960s for grad-student and young-faculty housing, next to what's now the Finkbine Golf Course. I've been peering at the maps of the flooding with grim fascination.

The fact that it's rained here, tonight, hard enough to back up into our basement, is just a picturesque detail. Playing right now at Casa NH: "When the Levee Breaks."

#53 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 10:57 PM:

If you've got it, Spirit of the West, "When Rivers Rise" is pretty good for the moment, too; resulted from an instance of the Lower Fraser passing all its customary bounds.

#54 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 10:59 PM:

Here at Chez Nielsen Hayden we've got our collection of electric fans running in the basement, trying to dry it out, and the heap of towels we used to mop up is being washed. I'm still damp from going out to clear the storm drain.

Mind you, we live in Brooklyn.

The Iowa Press-Citizen has a good series of photo galleries. The pictures are stunning. From their latest set:

Spillway at the Coralville Dam.
The Coralville Dam itself, with an ominous leak coming through its face.
The two surviving spans of the Sutliffe Bridge.
Another view of the remains of the Sutliffe Bridge.
The Coralville Marriott. Patrick's been to an Icon there.
A broader view of Coralville.
An even broader view of Coralville.
Sandbags hold back the water in Iowa. Go, Diatryma!
Flooded-out Highway 6 river crossing, Iowa City.
Flooded farm near the Iowa River.
Water hazard: Remains of the Riverside Casino and Resort golf course.

Patrick's playlist while I've been typing this:

Led Zeppelin, When the Levee Breaks
Peter Gabriel, Here Comes the Flood
Flatt & Scruggs, Crash on the Levee
Stevie Ray Vaughn, Texas Flood
Memphis Minnie, When the Levee Breaks
Bob Dylan, Crash on the Levee
Johnny Cash, How High's the Water, Mama
Peter Blegvad, It's Just You and Me
The Persuasions, Black Muddy River
Bruce Springsteen, Lost in the Flood
Fairport Convention, Crash on the Levee
Garbage, I'm Only Happy When It Rains
The Grateful Dead, Looks Like Rain
Bob Dylan, Shelter from the Storm
The Beatles, Rain

#55 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 11:21 PM:

Add, the Chad Mitchell Trio, Mighty Day. (It's about the Galveston Hurricane, but hey.)

#56 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 11:37 PM:

that reinforces the 1993 flashbacks. More rain is expected here tomorrow or Monday.

Yikes. I feel so badly for everyone affected.

#57 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 11:41 PM:

Wesley@6: I dunno how she feels, but in her place I'd be tending toward 'persecuted'.

What a mess, eh? All my troubles seem as nothing. The weather's glorious here. What can I have to grumble about?

Here's hoping that, however much water flows over the bridge, may you at least be spared the presence of the executive plus entourage. There is no disaster so vast or so deep as can not be made vaster and deeper by parsecs with the Coming of the Chimp.

#58 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2008, 11:47 PM:

For more Peter Blegvad, there's "Meet The Rain" (which may be my favorite song of his).

#59 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 12:10 AM:

And Creedence's "Who'll Stop the Rain" and "Have You Ever Seen the Rain", and Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927".

#61 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 12:24 AM:

Pericat, you said it. There's no disaster so bad that it can't be made worse by a visit from Mr. Bush.

#62 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 12:27 AM:

James at 55, I prefer Tom Rush's version of "Galveston." But yeah, it's a hell of a song. It was playing in the back of my mind all through Katrina.

#63 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 12:53 AM:

A lot of the songs mentioned already ended up in a Bad Weather mix I made for myself back the last time our minds were full of such.

Also on the list was Close Your House Down, by Cordero, and Tornadoes, by the Drive By Truckers. (The link goes to a slideshow of Kansas tornado damage from 6/11/2008, set to this song for a soundtrack.) These two songs come as close as anything I've found in art to describing what tornado weather is like.

#64 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 02:16 AM:

Another suggestion for the playlist, this one on the whimsical side--De La Soul's "Tread Water" from (naturally) their album 3 Feet High and Rising.

#65 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 03:01 AM:

Go Diatryma!

I did that kind of community work after Loma Prieta. It—in addition to actually serving its direct purpose—has the unintended side effect of bringing the community together*. It makes a good thing out of a disaster.

The Hub and I are starting to discuss flooding plans for the new house. Disaster kits in the attic (which has a window, and will probably have a dormer next year, for other reasons), boat ownership, looking into the community's flood preparedness schemes.

-----
* The Dutch know this very well indeed. It is amazing how many opinions people have about sandbags and how well we work together in spite of the guy next to us being WRONG is as nice a description of the polder model as I have read in a long time.

#66 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 03:02 AM:

Wait, is this funny now?
Since when is it ok for people who are outside the effected areas to start making jokes about a disaster that is forcing thousands of people from their homes, destroying livelihoods and lives, and will have disastrous effects on already serious food prices?
It's all well and good to face adversity with a smile, but that's usually reserved for those who are actually facing adversity; for people hundreds or thousands of miles away, it's usually known as insensitivity.
I'm just saying, perhaps a show of sympathy might be more appropriate than a soundtrack and jokes.

#67 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 03:06 AM:

Question: Where does the water go next? The Cedar River drains into what, the Mississppi? Is it going to be a significant volume there, or will it be only a minor addition to the river's volume?

I have no intuitive feel for the comparative sizes of these rivers.

#68 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 03:40 AM:

JimR @66:
perhaps a show of sympathy might be more appropriate than a soundtrack and jokes

I see a lot of sympathy, whether it's expressed in the musical choices or in the comments. What thread are you reading?

And jokes about Bush are by the people affected by a disaster, albeit a slower-moving one. I don't see any jokes aimed at the people affected by the flood. Please point me to the comment numbers, because that's a disemvoweling offense.

Seriously. If any of the people actually affected by this are personally hurt by any of the comments, I hope they will post and say so. Alternatively, they can email me or any of the other moderators privately, and we will take up the case.

But my experience is that in these situations, more offense is taken on behalf of others than by the people themselves. The attitude of New Yorkers to 9/11 was very different to the attitude of much of the rest of the country or the world. I remember it well after 7/7 in the UK too, when it seemed that the Americans were angrier than the British about the bombings.

#69 ::: Jon ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 04:26 AM:

Abi @ 67:

It'll be more than a minor addition. For instance, NOAA is forcasting record flood levels at Keokuk by the middle of next week. (Keokuk is on the Mississippi down in the southeast corner of Iowa). And Hannibal, MO, which is a bit farther downstream, may be setting a new record for flood levels by late next week.

#70 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 04:33 AM:

Good to hear from you, Diatryma! You hadn't posted for awhile. Wish the general circumstances were better.

My mom and uncle in DM are OK, although they are literally a couple of blocks from closed streets. Amazing what a difference a hill makes.

#71 ::: Jon ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 04:34 AM:

I should have added that part of the problem is it's not just the Cedar River that's flooding. As you can see from all the purple dots on this map, most of the rivers in the southeast part of Iowa are experiencing major flooding, and they all drain into the Mississippi.

#72 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 05:03 AM:

John L. @51: We here in California could use some of that water, too....

#73 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 07:06 AM:

We Brits have Mr Bush today. I understand he is meeting one of the most experienced politicians in the world. But we have to let the Prime Minister do the talking.

No floods for him to visit, not yet. And I doubt he'll be departing through Terminal 5. I think we might even get him back to you in one piece.

Sorry.

#74 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 07:11 AM:

in re water, and needing some -

Here in Upstate NY, we will happily shift these rolling thunderstorms (yes, they are still thunderstorms when they reach us, two-three days after Ohio - but not the massive confluences that are drowning the Midwest) down south for you folks in the Carolinas and Georgia and Florida, just as soon as we figure out how.

(we've only gotten some very minor flooding - storm drain overflow in the city, things like that - so far. But I don't think the water table is going to be hurting at all this year).

#75 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 09:48 AM:

There are people in West Texas who would cheerfully take some of that rain. They're under six inches so far this year, and need four or five just to catch up to their official normal.

The Shrub is 'expressing his sympathy' for the people in Iowa and the other affected areas, according to the AP wire story.

#76 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 10:22 AM:

From Reuters:

"In Quincy, Illinois, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama joined volunteers and filled sandbags to hold back the Mississippi River. Republican presidential candidate John McCain issued a statement expressing sympathy for the flood victims."

Compare and contrast.

#77 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 10:27 AM:

In hopes that the AP doesn't come after us: the money quotes:

Bush, addressing reporters after attending a church service in Paris, said his "thoughts and prayers go out to those who are suffering from the floods in our country."

"I know there's a lot of people hurting right now and I hope they're able to find some strength in knowing that there is love from a higher being," the president said with first lady Laura Bush at his side.

Thanks ever so much for the help, George.

#78 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 10:46 AM:

Reporting from Cedar Rapids - down to one well, and not allowed back into downtown or flooded parts west.

We're very grateful that we've got lots of drinking water saved in jugs. We ended up using bunches of it to wash off after we got a call from church to save what had been moved from the sub-basement to the basement. Even though the floodwaters stopped short of lapping at church, they backed up into the basement, and more needed to be done.

More tips for the apocalypse: Own rubber boots in your size, for when you will surely need them, so shall everyone else, and the stores will surely be out. If you live in a home, make sure that at least one gutter has a joint such that you can slip in a trash can for emergency water collection for gray-water uses. If you store your go-material in the basement, store it in water-tight sealed plastic tubs. We had rubber boots and plastic tubs, but never expected that the gutters of our home would wildly frustrate us by their lack of joints.

The heartbreaking thing is that the peak was nine feet higher than the prediction as of Wednesday morning. The automated gauge wasn't quite working right, (the complexities aren't yet fully known) and so wasn't giving a true prediction. This means that a lot of downtown businesses and homes had less than an hour's warning that they were going to be in harm's way. We don't know if everyone got out in time, and won't know until Tuesday or so. The public library is pretty much a total loss - if there'd been twelve hours warning, the contents could have been saved.

So the last and most important tip is simple - don't expect it to go as easily as predicted.

We'll be going to "come as you are" worship in a few minutes at another church, since FEMA won't let ours be used. I doubt they'll be using the hymns that I've been whistling since Wednesday. "Down by the Riverside," "Wade in the Water," and "Down to the River to Pray."

#79 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 11:18 AM:

Gonna lay down a sandbag levee
down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside....

I can't make the last line rhyme, though.

No me in the pictures yet, but my hands might have been on the news.

Zipties are holy things. Canonize the ziptie inventor. Now.

Thanks for the thoughts and jokes. My friends in Cedar Rapids are wishing they could get down here to shower.

More updates later today. I hope the storm coming in doesn't wreck everything. Parts of the library are unhappy.

#80 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 11:34 AM:

However, I don't expect the fields to dry out enough for large machinery in the next week.

Report on NPR ~7 hours before the above was posted was that the fields \might/ be dry in time, but there was no certainty.
      I don't know how that area divides between "family" and "corporate" farms; ADM is enough of a power in the Republican Party that I would expect a better response than Katrina got, IFF there's anything the Feds can do to reduce the effect on ADM. I'm not sure there is -- I don't think there are enough pumps to hurry that water out of the Cedar and into the Mississippi, even if (IIRC) the latter was having low-water problems in that area recently.
      Meanwhile, the local paper passed through a story that a couple of enterprising towns have worked out a deal with sightseeing boats to provide commuter ferry service, because the only bridge in the neighborhood (MN/WI border?) was closed for safety reasons.

abi@68: I remember that difference in attitude; the U.S. was being hysterical (hardly surprising given the power structure) while older Brits were saying "We've been bombed by more competent people than this and survived."

#81 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 12:35 PM:

Add to the song list: "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" by Pete Seeger, appropriate on TWO levels, if not more.

I've seen news that the Mississippi will be closed to barge traffic from Fulton, Ill. to Clarksville, Mo., a distance of 250 miles. At a time when gas prices for transporting grain, coal and other goods are at an all-time high, this could cost millions. For more info:
http://www.twincities.com/allheadlines/ci_9532469

#82 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 02:23 PM:

Even if replacement crops can be sown and harvested, they'll have missed the optimum timing for yield: one obvious factor is the hours of daylight to power photosynthesis.

Also, check on the "carry-over" as a percentage of annual consumption. There can be several weeks variation in harvest date without disasters, and a couple of months is going to get noticed.

And all the hot money chasing its tail through the futures markets, after all those lovely years in mortgage derivatives, is really going to screw with prices.

#83 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 03:04 PM:

CHip @80:
"We've been bombed by more competent people than this and survived."

The term my London colleagues used was "a better class of bastard".

#84 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 04:00 PM:

Yeah, ALL that water drains into the Mississippi; there's no other place for it to go. They're already expecting floods from Hannibal down to Memphis, with rising waters forecast further south as well.

RE: replanting after the water drains away. Not a good idea; floodwaters are contaminated water, with oil, diesel, sewage, chemicals, gasoline, etc, and all of that will be deposited on whatever the water touches. Often the best option is to plow the land under and let it lay fallow for a year in the hopes that time will help reduce the contaminants.

#85 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 04:04 PM:

Debbie @ #76, well, Barack's 46, John's 71. All that exertion might well do harm to a senior citizen of McCain's exalted status. Obama, on the other hand, played one-on-one or three-on-three hoops every primary day, so he's in pretty good shape.

#86 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 04:11 PM:

Well, there's a difference between the flood waters and standing rainwater. Around here (central IL, far from rivers) the problem has been that we've had sufficient rain to just sit in the fields in puddles. So the farmers are still looking to plant or replant those areas where seeds got washed out of the soil or compacted beneath mud, but know that their yields won't be ideal. Some of them are gambling that with higher prices, it will still be worth it. But I drive past fields every day that either haven't been planted yet, or will need some significant portion replanted to get any yield at all.

#87 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 04:16 PM:

Linkmeister @85 -- that's very true, and something to wonder about in a general sense. Still, being out there, seen to be doing something, sends a powerful message. I sincerely hope there's more behind Obama's actions than jumping at a photo op.

#88 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 04:30 PM:

If you're in your seventies, you don't go fill sandbags, you go hand out coffee and doughnoughts to those as are filling sandbags. (Bottled water, etc., as appropriate for climate and circumstances.)

It's not like it would be even vaguely difficult to do; any competent campaign team could get you in there with a big tent and a hot lunch for 500, free to the locals, kindly let those filling sandbags stand first in line...

Heck, a little forethought and planning, and McCain's campaign could have had him handing lunch to Obama, and wouldn't that have played well in some quarters.

But, well. That would involve a neoconservative movement that didn't have a religious taboo about ever doing anything that benefits anyone else.

That's what I'd hope to see emphasized from this; Barak Obama is just fine with helping people because that's the right thing to do. John McCain, well, he'll say something nice.

#89 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 06:24 PM:

JimR (66):

Wait, is this funny now?
What's happening along the Mississippi watershed is not funny. We're serious. We're just not solemn about it. Our sympathy is something close to boundless.

We're a long-established internet community, with people all over the world, and we've seen each other through all kinds of disasters. We've kept track of each other during and after events like the 9/11 attacks, the London bombings, the war in Iraq, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul bridge collapse. We were a semi-major public information site during Katrina, and (far more frivolously) during the Great Boston Mooninite Scare. If the world were ending, and there were nothing I could do about it, there's no place I'd rather be than the comment threads on Making Light.

In between disasters and emergencies, we publish a lot of articles on emergency preparedness. One of our bloggers, Jim Macdonald, has been writing a long series of articles on how to deal with medical emergencies. The best introduction to Making Light on emergency preparedness is to read Jim's review of Cloverfield and click on the links.

Since when is it ok for people who are outside the effected areas to start making jokes about a disaster that is forcing thousands of people from their homes, destroying livelihoods and lives, and will have disastrous effects on already serious food prices?
I make jokes when I'm the one having the disaster, if I can think of any. We all do. It's laughing-with, not laughing-at. Notice that Laura Runkle and Diatryma are both adding to the music playlist, and they're in the thick of things in Iowa. We've also got at least one full-time farmer in this conversation, and he knows in detail how awful all this is.
It's all well and good to face adversity with a smile, but that's usually reserved for those who are actually facing adversity; for people hundreds or thousands of miles away, it's usually known as insensitivity.
But we are facing adversity. It's just that some of us are experiencing it first-hand, and others are getting it second- or third-hand. For many of us, this flood is hitting people we know, and places we care about; and if for others Iowa is a distant rumor, we still know that it's important to people who matter to us, and so it matters to us as well. The experience isn't identical, but that doesn't mean the emotional connection is trivial.
I'm just saying, perhaps a show of sympathy might be more appropriate than a soundtrack and jokes.
There's buckets of sympathy going around here. For instance, you're the reason I put the photos of the Sutliffe Bridge into my links list, because you lamented it so sadly.

I don't want to call the playlist traditional, but it very nearly is. I think this is something we first noticed during Katrina. Rivers are a central image in American popular music, with storms and floods not far behind. When you're in the middle of the real thing, you find those songs running through your head -- see Laura Runkle at #78, and Diatryma at #79. With any luck, someone will pop up and give Diatryma a rhyming line for her new verse.

It's just how we cope. I swear, there's not a speck of unkindness in it.

#90 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 06:34 PM:

BTW, New Orleans is flooded today.

As a commentator states, "You think this is bad? Wait until all that water from Iowa and Wisconsin gets here."

Love, C.

#91 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 06:41 PM:

As was pointed out re American and floods.

Our music, particularly from the south and from along the Mississippi, is filled with floods and stories of floods, and imagery of floods. The Blues and the older Country music.

You cannot find a New Orleans' musician who hasn't recorded countless songs with floods and flooding and flood imagery -- and that was long before the levees failed in 2005.

Those songs before recording, were filled with floods.

I have lots of relatives, farmers, in western Iowa. I've lived through spring floods on the farm where I grew up. You bet you laugh.

Love, C.

#92 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 06:47 PM:

JimR:
A common thing to do during disasters: laugh. Because if you don't, you cry. And once you start cryin', you don't ever stop.

I lived thru the '94 Northridge Earthquake and if it hadn't been for the damdest stupidest silliest jokes, I would probably have crawled in the closet and never come out.

#93 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 07:04 PM:

In the '93 floods in Missouri, humor about the flood ranging from gallows humor ("We've had tornadoes and flooding this week;the locusts are scheduled for next week.") to silly jokes (a coworker took to ending all sentences expressing a plan for the next few days with "Lord willing and the creek don't rise.")

This is just how people are. Laughing at disasters outside our control is one of our more endearing traits. I'll bet rescue workers in China after the huge earthquake there were using gallows humor to survive the horror.

#94 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 07:49 PM:

Diatryma @45: It is amazing how many opinions people have abuout sandbags and how well we work together in spite of the guy next to us being WRONG.

That right there is one of the things I love about Iowa. :-)

So here's my contribution to the playlist -- "Iowa Stubborn" from Meredith Wilson's The Music Man. Specifically...

"And we're so by God stubborn
We could stand touchin' noses
For a week at a time
And never see eye-to-eye.
...
You ought to give Iowa a try!"

My folks are in the northwest corner of the state and on relatively high ground and so sitting okay, thank God, though the rivers in the area still have flood warnings out on them and the fields are flooded, just nothing's to the point of evacuation. My uncle's farm is just outside the flood zone right now, though, but if (when) they get more rain, I expect it will flood there too. I trust them to keep an eye on it and get out when they need to. ::sigh:: It really is '93 all over again.

Thank you so much to the people actually out there helping out -- I wish I could do something more concrete than send money and virtual good wishes. I'm glad I don't live in Iowa any more, but I still care about it, goddammit, and I don't want to see it all get swept away by the floodwaters.

#95 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 08:43 PM:

I just spoke with a friend in Iowa City, and the flood there has crested without loss of life.

He's having a cookout. I consider that a civic-minded avoidance of utility usage.

#97 ::: Strata Chalup ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 02:46 AM:

This thread is *exactly and precisely* why I absolutely loathe events like "Blog Like It's the End of the World". At least when it was about zombies I didn't really take it seriously. This seems sadly and copiously real and verifiable. I'm angry that I had to doubt it for a moment due to bliteotw idiocy that I've seen recently on friends' blogs.

I have both sympathy AND jokes. This truly sucks, and my heart goes out to the folks who are looking at wrack and ruin.

If folks would accept help from AsiaPac, perhaps China, Japan, and Korea could send young rice plants ready for transplanting, and people to show farmers how? World rice prices and flooded fields look like opportunity to some people, maybe even to Iowans ready for a laugh.

As for what little I can do-- if you or your family or neighbors need seeds, please let me know. We have a lot of seed-savers here, and we'd be glad to do what we can to help folks re-establish their gardens. We probably can't send plants, alas, but you'd be surprised how quickly things like beans and squash and cucumbers can re-establish when planted in the summer warmth.

#98 ::: Strata Chalup ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 03:31 AM:

And for the playlist, "No Place to Hide", by Alison Krauss & Union Station.

"When i was a child
I used to love to watch the rain
I'd stand under the downspout
Let the water cool my brain

I never thought to worry
If the river rose too high
That all the seeds we planted
Would get washed out with the tide"

#99 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 03:45 AM:

Would it be deeply paranoid of me to suspect that the Bush Administration's lack of urgency in this case -- as in NOLA/Katrina, NYC/post-911-funding, and California during the Enron-rigged energy crisis -- might have something to do with partisan affiliations? As in, "It's not really a disaster if a Democratic-leaning region is hard hit"?

Because I'd just hate to be unjust even in my thoughts.

#100 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:28 AM:

Well over a day late, and a good few dollars short to boot, but here's one for Diatryma.


Gonna lay down a sandbag levee
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside.
Gonna lay down a sandbag levee
Down by the riverside
Keepin' the flood from my home.

(refrain)
I've been keepin' back the flood
I've been keepin' back the flood
Keepin' the flood from my home
I've been keepin' back the flood
I've been keepin' back the flood
Keepin' the flood from my home.

Gonna stand by my brother now
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Gonna stand by my brother now
Down by the riverside
Keepin' the flood from his home.

(refrain, using:
Keepin' the flood from his home)

Gonna shovel with strangers now
....
Keepin' the flood from their homes.

(refrain, using:
Keepin' the flood from their homes)

Gonna work with my enemies
...
Keepin' the flood from our home.

(refrain, using:
Keepin' the flood from our home)

(extra credit verse:
Want to see all my candidates
...
Keepin' the flood from our homes)

(religious verse:
They say the Lord was working there
...
Keepin' the flood from our homes)

#101 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:29 AM:

JimR,

I was unduly harsh up there, and I apologize.

#102 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 07:10 AM:

Abi, Teresa and everyone else, I'm the one who should apologize. I got bent out of shape when I know good and well no one here had any ill-will whatsoever. I was having trouble getting hold of some friends and family in the area and I was really, really stressing about it. I did finally get in touch, and they are ok--some damage, but everyone is safe and doing relatively well, so now I'm in a better state of mind to see what's going on around me.
I'm sorry about that.

#103 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 07:26 AM:

JimR,

I had a friend who commuted over the Cypress Structure back in '89, and I couldn't reach him for a couple of days after the Loma Prieta quake. I remember that particular flavor of worry all too well. I'm glad that you have been in touch with your people, and that all is as well as possible. May it get better from here.

And if this isn't a place to be when you're upset and worried, then we're running it wrong.

#104 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 07:57 AM:

JimR, I took no offense. I figured you were worried and stressed out and grieving.

#105 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 10:21 AM:

Meanwhile, in our neck of the woods we had a 36 water main blow out in the boonies; it took WSSC over seven hours to find the break. In the mean time we had negative water pressure; right now we just have none. We'll be boiling water for the next three days, when we get any.

#106 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 11:32 AM:

Abi, I love you. Goofy grin on face right here at Tspoons and damned if my eyes aren't going.

Reservoir has crested, the Press-Citizen says. Rivergages.com has a drop of almost .3 feet-- the sweetest three inches I've seen.

No volunteer efforts today. My summer class is ambiguously going on via the internet, which is inconvenient for me. I have a meeting with my advisor, business as usual, assuming that the official notice about my building is right and not the one everyone heard-- we heard 'get out now, take what you might need for a couple weeks' and the official line is that the lower-floor doors are closed.

I thought about rice in the fields.

My friends in Cedar Rapids remain unflooded, but close to it and wishing for showers. A furniture store downtown lost its plate glass windows and the furniture floated away-- go fishing for new dining room chairs.

Most of sandbagging doesn't suck. The parts that do suck are pretty bad-- overfull sandbags are almost all of that. Next time this happens, if I'm still here, I'm printing posters of HOW TO FILL A SANDBAG and possible HOW TO HANDLE THE HEAT AND EXERTION, citing Jim liberally.

Anyone think we could sandbag the highway and keep Bush out?

Thanks for the thanks, folks, but I'm not the one to thank. I logged 13 hours Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. My friends and labmates were out last Saturday and every day after. It's the people whose sandbags are underwater that really get the praise. They held it off long enough to get some things out-- not all. The cleanup's going to be pretty icky.

And really, Abi, you have no idea how much you've improved the last three days.

#107 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 01:11 PM:

Pyre, #99: If it is, it's a short-sighted and ultimately self-defeating approach.

Wait...

#108 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 01:29 PM:

go fishing for new dining room chairs

I hope that's not intended at all seriously, at least not for furniture that has any stuffing. Ottawa has had serious basement flooding a couple of times in the last few years, resulting in a lot of befouled furniture being put out for garbage pickup. People were carting away the items, giving them external cleanup, and selling them as second-hand furniture, with buyers unknowingly taking risks from mold/mildew/bacterial contamination.

#109 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 01:51 PM:

Jim R @ 66

It's either laugh or cry.

I'm not in the flooded area, but I live two blocks from the Manhattan, Kansas tornado path. It also passed one block away from where I work on campus. The jokes about the Wind Erosion Lab being the only building to get blown away haven't stopped yet.

#110 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 01:58 PM:

#79 Diatryma

How about this?

Gonna lay down a sandbag levee
down by the riverside, down by the riverside with my baby....

(...currently listing to 80's rock while helping to coordinate tornado clean up. Does it show?)

"If I Could Walk on Water" by Eddie Money is currently playing. How ironic.

#111 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 02:26 PM:

Wesley@96 -- That map has both my birthplace and the house where I spent my first 5 years, though, I think I missed PNH by a few years there.

I was out there this spring, and for the first time in a long time, I actually saw the place without 8 foot corn and soybeans everywhere. In the middle of may, they were talking about how the weather was making it hard to get the crops in.

As far as I know, the family, friends, and relations are mostly on high ground, except for one house whose basement was mostly flooded by the weekend.

#113 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 02:47 PM:

Here's another for the playlist:

Here Comes the Rain Again

(can't remember the group that recorded it, but TWC used to use an instrumental version)

And Thor, enough already with the thunderstorms!

#114 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 03:41 PM:

Diatryma @106:
I was thinking about your comment about working with others when that came together. I'm glad it helps; I'm too far away to give you a cup of coffee or a hand with the labor.

Lori Coulson @113:
Here Comes the Rain Again is by the Eurythmics.

Red Rain by Peter Gabriel?

#115 ::: John l ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:05 PM:

Anyone listed "Cold November Rain" by Guns&Roses yet? Wrong month, but same sentiment.

#116 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Please, please, send some of this rain to Bedfordshire. Pollen counts are stratospheric, and even drugged to the hilt I'm sneezing a dozen times a minute and having constant trouble breathing. (This is not unusual. I have allergic shock reactions every few years.)

Rain, rain, send me rain! The house might flood but at least the damn pollen would be gone and I could breathe and see straight again.

*SNEEZE*

#117 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:00 PM:

I've got Dylan's Buckets of Rain and about 25 other wet songs in my playlist. TMBG's Flood is a little bouncy for this mix though, so it may go down a bit.

#118 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:11 PM:

"Early Morning Rain" - Gordon Lightfoot

#119 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 07:23 PM:

Strata Chalup @ 97

If you live outside of the US (making the assumption), I don't think you can send seeds to Iowa. I think the Dept of Agriculture has very strict rules about plants and seeds coming in from outside the US. At least, I'm pretty sure seeds were one of the things I had to promise I was not hiding in my household goods when they were shipped back from Germany.

I do think some Iowans would get a laugh out of growing rice in the flooded fields. Most years, trying to grow rice would require serious irrigation. And if the rain stops sometime soon, those fields could all be very dry in a month. (or not, if this is another version of 1993)


Nix @ 116

While rain would wash away the pollen you've got right now, flooding tends to increase the mold count for years to come.

#120 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 09:19 PM:

The American Red Cross announced today that its disaster relief fund is completely spent, and that it is now borrowing money to continue intensive relief efforts across the midwest.

Many of my fellow volunteers from the Minneapolis Chapter are using their own vehicles and paying for their own gas, lodging and food to go help these folks. I'll probably be joining them shortly.

Even with the volunteers paying their own way, these efforts still consume huge amounts of cash. To donate, please click here. Thank you.

#121 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 09:45 PM:

Edward, what's your local chapter?
I ask because some people are recommending donating to the chapters rather than the national organization, which doesn't always put the money where the donors intend.

#122 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 10:03 PM:

PJ @ #122, Here's the page which shows ARC chapters by state, with links to each one's website.

#123 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 10:52 PM:

Linkmeister: bookmarked.

#124 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 02:24 AM:

For the playlist:

Richard Shindell's "Money for Floods"

#125 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 08:54 AM:

Jars of Clay's Flood

#126 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:56 AM:

Wet songs on my own playlist include:

A Little Fall of Rain
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Stormy Weather
Summer Rain

and possibly "In Too Deep", but I think that's only about metaphorical deep water.

Kasey Chambers' "On a Bad Day" has a lot of rain in it, but "not enough", so it probably doesn't count. Catchy song, though.

#127 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:11 PM:

My sister works for the Ohio State University Library and emailed me a status report on the University of Iowa Library:

Our preservation people have been in touch with Iowa--their art library collection is dry (2nd floor) but they are probably looking at mold problems there. The Main library has a couple of inches of water in basement now, but they don't expect that to be a big problem. All staff & computers are good. Very thankfull they did the massive transfer upstairs anyway. Unfortunately the Main Public Library in Cedar Rapids 1st floor is wiped out, but thankfully replacable. valuble stuff is on the 2nd floor. the African American and the Czech museums were submerged as well. and they got permission to get a team and a refridg truck into Czech. That's gonna be a long process. We have offered assistance and i'm certain other libraries have as well.

And that's the way it is...

#128 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:57 PM:

Now comes the noninspiring part: moving sandbags downstream. I'll check today to see if the university's still doing that.

#129 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 01:28 AM:

I found this tshirt in the shirts that I was saving because I couldn't bear to throw them away pile. I don't think I've worn it in 5 or 10 years, but I still have it around.

#130 ::: Xopher sees cryptic spam again ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 01:34 PM:

Another one with a cryptic name, text, and link.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.