By Cornelia F. Mutel
In June 2008, the rivers of japanese Iowa rose above their banks to create floods of epic proportions; their striking size—flowing in areas at a fee approximately double that of the former checklist flood—and the rapidity in their upward thrust ruined farmlands and displaced hundreds of thousands of citizens and enormous quantities of companies. In Cedar Rapids, the waters inundated greater than 9 sq. miles of the downtown zone; in Iowa urban, the place the flood was once additionally the main damaging in historical past, the college of Iowa’s arts campus used to be destroyed. through delivering an exceptional base of clinical and technical details provided with strange readability and a wealth of assisting illustrations, the members to this far-reaching ebook, a lot of whom dealt firsthand with the 2008 floods, offer a close roadmap of the reasons and results of destiny devastating floods. The twenty-five essays fall clearly into 4 sections. “Rising Rivers, Spreading Waters” starts off by way of evaluating the 2008 floods with the midwestern floods of 1993, strikes directly to hint group responses to the 2008 floods, and ends through illuminating strategies for forecasting floods and deciding on their dimension and frequency. “Why the following, Why Now?” searches for attainable motives of the 2008 floods and of flooding regularly: annual plants and concrete landscapes, inflows into and releases from reservoirs, and weather switch. “Flood Damages, Flood expenses, Flood advantages” considers the advanced mixture of flood charges and results, emphasizing damages to towns and farmlands in addition to capability merits to traditional groups and archaeological websites. “Looking again, taking a look ahead” lays out methods to handling the floods of the longer term which are absolute to come. whereas the ebook attracts so much of its examples from one specific area, it explains flooding all through a miles higher region—the midwestern Corn Belt—and hence its sobering but energizing classes observe well past jap Iowa. by means of reading the relationships between rivers, floodplains, climate, and glossy society; by means of stressing concerns of technological know-how and truth instead of social or coverage matters; and through addressing a number of environmental difficulties and advantages, A Watershed yr informs and educates all those that skilled the 2008 floods and all these desirous about the bigger factors of flooding.
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Extra info for A Watershed Year: Anatomy of the Iowa Floods of 2008 (Bur Oak Book)
Construction was completed in three days. Back-up utility systems, located high on the river’s west bank at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, were activated and because flooded highways limited access to Iowa City, flights were initiated to FIGURE 4-2â•‡ The university’s main Power Plant, built on the east shore of the Iowa River, took on more than 21 feet of standing water, which entered the building through underground utility tunnels. The plant is shown here on June 16, the day after the flood crested in Iowa City.
Preparing critical infrastructure for the rising water required strategic decisions about what was feasible to protect. We directed our limited resources to those facilities that we believed we could save and we worked to limit damage to facilities likely to be flooded. For example, based on the new peak flow projections, our north wastewater treatment plant would be completely flooded. Our staff quickly devised a plan to protect key components of the facility, and everything else was shut down to limit damage to electrical systems.
Water reaches swales and streams so quickly, and the river rises so rapidly, that flash flooding occurs within hours or a day of the storm. â•… 9 big floods have their own timetable. Iowa’s biggest floods are concentrated in the late spring and summer (see figure 1-2); most of the biggest floods have occurred during the months of June and July. The dominance of big floods caused by summertime thunderstorm systems is dramatic for rivers large and small. Although springtime snowmelt and rain floods are very common in Iowa, they simply do not produce the biggest floods we see.