Sunday, June 15, 2008

Iowa City Watches and Waits

Iowa City Watches and Waits

Most of the sandbagging is done, and as of 11 a.m. Sunday the Benton and Burlington Street bridges in Iowa City were still open.

While scattered preparations continue, there's nothing going on like Saturday's massive effort at the University of Iowa's Lindquist Center, where thousand of volunteers worked to protect the building housing the University's main servers.

But Iowa City's fate comes down to this afternoon's weather. Thunderstorms are predicted, and the amounts and locations of the rainfall will make the difference for many buildings and homes.

Scenes from Iowa City:

Pumping water at the Lindquist Center, Burlington and Madison Streets.

Looking across the river at the arts campus, the top of a futile row of sandbags is visible.

Water behind the line of bags at the Laser Center.

Our daily benchmark shot of the north entrance of the IMU. Couldn't get as close as usual; The west side of Madison Street is cordoned off, and campus rent-a-cops are enthusiastically enforcing the ban on bicycling bloggers, even though the street itself is bone dry.

The Kirkwood Avenue bridge over Ralston Creek. The creek is the worry spot for Iowa City today, if rains are heavy.

The Iowa City Crisis Center is in the creek's flood area. Keri Neblett says she's already heard every joke about the Crisis Center in crisis. Food bank operations are moving to Southeast Junior High "just in case," and nonessential files are going into storage.

Hills Bank on South Gilbert Street.

Sandbagging efforts at Los Portales on South Gilbert.

Bags at a MidAmerican substation on South Capitol Street. That street is closed to cars a block to the south, but bikers and pedestrians are getting through parking lots and on the sidewalk.

The flood was top of the national news yesterday, and satellite trucks are much in evidence. The Weather Channer did a live uplink from the parking lot of my office building. The stories seem to focus on extreme video, and the brevity of the TV format leads some stories to slop over, or even get wrong, the concept that Iowa City is on a different river and not "downstream" from Cedar Rapids.

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