What I Did During The June Flood


A torrent of water pours down the street in front of our house.

A torrent of water pours down the street in front of our house.

It will probably become the July flood. The creek behind our house is already an impressive river, and this will probably be the one year in five that it gets so high that it enters our back yard. I don’t know the figures yet, but we had an impressive downpour today, on top of saturated ground. I’m sure the water is still entering the area creeks and streams and rivers. More flooding is on the way, but thankfully the skies will be dry for a few days.

We had planned a grandchildren’s day today at the Children’s Museum of Iowa in the Coral Ridge Mall. After a stop at Steak N Shake for lunch, off we headed.

It’s about the best museum around for kids, bar none. In many ways, it beats both the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids science museums—it’s clean, stuff works and there is lots of variety for kids to do. We had a very pleasant visit for a couple of hours, and around mid afternoon were just deciding it was probably time to go home.

When an employee came on the intercom and said something about 70 mph winds, and how we should all probably gather in either the theater or the mall’s storm safe area.

"Dry" Creek. And this is not mid-creek, just the overflow area to the north of the creek.

“Dry” Creek. And this is not mid-creek, just the overflow area to the north of the creek.

My wife, three daughters, eight grandchildren and I, we were quite a crowd. Luckily, the stories and costumes in the theater were enough to amuse the children, although one granddaughter crawled into a large chair on stage and sacked out.

Well, if you have to hole up in the storm, the children’s museum is a good place to be. Anyway, several hours later, we took the kids to Panera Bread for bagels, and then decided it was OK to leave as the storm was slacking off. And, of course, the rain started to pour on us as we walked out to our three Kia minivans.

We drove home. The drive was not bad, as the big storm had passed, but when we got home, Cedar Rapids looked more than a little bedraggled. Some street signals were out, many big tree limbs were down. And at our house, there was no power. Our daughter, who got home around 3, informed us it had been out since then.

And, after we got home, a secondary storm rumbled in—with a very intense downpour. We got to witness an impressive flash flood, as water charged down Devonshire, even removing some pavement from the street. A big limb from the ash tree was by the street, but ended up halfway up the yard. Several inches of water washed into our garage and threatened to enter the house, but luckily did not.

It was breathtaking and awesome in the sense of filling one with awe.

What do you do on a rainy afternoon with no power? When we weren’t watching the flood, we turned on some battery candles and nightlights, and had a dance party with music from an iPad, then played with Barbies and had a candle-lit picnic supper of cold foods. Finally, around 8, the power flickered on, just in time for my oldest daughter to read a couple of books to her daughters before they were tucked into bed.

In the living room when it's dark and the power is out.

In the living room when it’s dark and the power is out.

What is next? I am sure the creek is still rising. I hope the river doesn’t come up again too far, but I’m sure it will come up again.

July starts tomorrow. In a normal year, June is wet and July is dryer, although no weather this year could be called “normal.” Anyway, let’s hope that July is at least not as wet as June. And no more 70 mph winds, please.

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Geraniums were tipped by flood, and one pot washed out–the plants are gone for good. Or bad.

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Sunset after the storm is pretty. Let’s hope the rain is done.

July 1 update: Posted a few photos on Facebook the next morning. Sadly, it looks like a teen in Cedar Rapids was swept away in the flash flood. Stay safe out there!

 

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