This week’s flood in Cedar Rapids brings a sick, familiar feeling.
I hope the current forecast of a crest at around 22 feet is right this time. That’s a bad flood. But I do know that flood forecasts can be wrong. The email below, sent late the night of June 11, 2008, warned of a crest at 24.7 feet, which would have been a record. The actual crest less than two days later was more than 31 feet.
It was a record-setting disaster for my then-community, similar to the flood my now-community experienced this summer. (This time I wasn’t involved in flood coverage.)
I don’t have much new to say about this flood, except that I’m confident Executive Editor Zack Kucharski and his staff will excel in covering this flood. Many veterans of the 2008 flood have moved on, either voluntarily or as the Gazette cut staff. But I count more than 20 veterans of the 2008 flood still on hand, including Zack and several others who played key roles. They know what to do.
I hope the waters don’t rise above expected levels again. But I’m certain the staff will perform at whatever level the community needs, whatever the obstacles.
The Gazette has some good aerial photos of this year’s flood, but they’re not showing nearly as extensive flooding, especially in areas with homes and businesses, as what we experienced in 2008. I hope it never again approaches that level.
Here are previous posts I’ve written about the 2008 flood, and the award-winning double-truck front page, designed by Rae Riebe, with a design suggestion from Michelle Wiese and a powerful photo by Liz Martin:
Our June 13, 2008, front and back pages.
The Cedar Rapids flood: Hard to believe it was four years ago
Mississippi Gulf Coast recovering slowly
If “The Fifth Season Is Progress,” it better be a long season
No Pulitzer, but still high honor for Gazette staff
Gazette flood coverage wins Sigma Delta Chi Award
Recognition for Gazette’s outstanding journalism
Disaster coverage in the digital age
Time for Cedar Rapids to get pushy