Windy, Soggy Iowa


It took me a long time to realize that I liked Iowa City. I was often very unhappy there, but eventually I figured out that had more to do with the fact that I was in a PhD program than with Iowa City itself, which, I eventually saw, was pretty cool and remarkably livable. (It also got cooler the longer I was there. It's quite hip these days, or was, before it started filling up like a kitchen sink.)

Not so much now. You probably heard about the terrible tornado that devastated Parkersburg, Iowa a few weeks ago. Or the tornado that killed four boy scouts two days ago (and would have killed more except that the other boy scouts knew how to do things like apply tourniquets or give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the 48 who were injured). Now there's terrible flooding in eastern Iowa; downtown Cedar Rapids, all of the Coralville strip (Coralville being a suburb of Iowa City, where I lived for a few years when I first started grad school because that was the only place I could find an apartment--Iowa City historically has a very tight housing market) and much of the University of Iowa campus--including, I would guess, my old office, which was in the basement of the English-Philosophy Building--are under water.

Iowa City was recovering from a terrible flood when I moved there in 1993. This flood is already much, much worse, and the river hasn't even crested. I realize it's not Katrina, the typhoon in Burma or the earthquakes in China, but it's still pretty awful, and it's hurting a place I care about.


That's hard, Holly. It would be like a fire in Flagstaff for me -- really hard to bear.

I can't believe that the media is so surprised that the Scouts knew what to do. Even in my cynical middle age I think that Scouting teaches kids some useful stuff and this is a sad but great example.

The flooding in Iowa is not hard for me to believe. When I drove across the country a few months ago, part of my drive was through Iowa, and it was flooded THEN. I drove through areas where there was water on both sides of the highway, and I'd just see a house out in the middle of it, the water halfway up the side of the vehicles. It was kind of freaky, but mostly just sad.

Hi Juti and LG--thanks for getting it. I keep reading news stories about this--the Iowa River is supposed to crest soon, at 31.5 feet instead of 33 feet as projected earlier, but there's supposed to be more rain today, so who knows what will happen? I feel lucky that I'm not there to endure it and bad that I'm not there to help.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on June 13, 2008 7:39 AM.

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