In 2008, the entire state of Iowa made national headlines by falling victim to a historically hectic flood. Though officially titled simply as the “Iowa Flood of 2008,” some referred to it as “Iowa’s Katrina.” 85 of Iowa’s 99 counties became federal disaster areas and the damage reached over $10 billion.
It’s amazing to think that a decade has passed since this tragedy. Iowans have certainly learned from it, and if you look closely, you might see some changes.
If you live here, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re visiting, take some time to appreciate where we were, where we’ve come, and where we’re going regarding the great Iowa Flood of 2008. Certainly, a decade has given us room to grow.
Preparation and Morale
Mentally, we’ve had to adapt to a future we can’t predict. Governmentally, community-wise, and individually, we’ve become more cautious, better prepared, and more proactive in preventing any flood damage from getting this bad ever again. However, this is only after plenty of property destruction, crisis counseling, and the outbreak of sicknesses following the flood.
Things like this flood take a lot out of you and require a lot of your energy. They also hit you by surprise. However, when you go through something like this, you learn to rely and appreciate each other in a new way.
As a community we’re more sensitive to each other’s needs now. And we know how to get back on the horse should anything like this ever happen again. We know to avoid things that will make matters worse, either personally (not allowing children to play in flood water, for example), or as a community (such as working together on flood mitigation efforts).
Covering Up What Was Destroyed
With our flood mitigation techniques, we’ve recovered what was lost in this tragedy that many of us take for granted. For instance, the IC&E Railroad experienced serious difficulties but is now up and running again. Amtrack services were rerouted and halted for almost a month!
Cedar Rapids itself has spent over $625 million to create flood damage preparations. First Avenue Bridge in Coralville has been raised, and if you find yourself eating at the River Power Company Restaurant there, you’ll experience the road reparations that have been made to prevent damage from future floods.
Ultimately, we’ve now created great disaster preparedness systems to deal with future disasters, be they flood or otherwise . A lot of what you’ll see has been affected and gone under construction to stop damage like this from ever occurring again.
Showing the World We Are One
As a community we’ve had to come together and prepare for the future in unity — with elected officials reaching across the aisle to come up with flood preparation plans, protecting businesses, neighborhoods, and roadways from ever receiving this kind of damage ever again, the people of Iowa have been more than grateful for and cooperative with their efforts.
This year marks 10 years since the historic Iowa Flood of 2008. We are stronger now. While we remember the pain of yesteryear, it will never hit us the way it once did. We are stronger, we are braver, and we are better.
If you’re not from Iowa, do you remember where you were when you heard about the Great Flood of 2008? Can you tell we’ve made changes to keep ourselves and you safe while in our great state? What do you Iowans do to prepare for our local natural disasters? Please, tell us your thoughts in the comments below.