atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1120: Floods in Iowa

So far, Tuesday's a bust, news-wise.

Whenever there is flooding in Iowa, my adopted home town of Cedar Rapids also floods. The Cedar River runs right through the middle of town. During times of flood it's not unusual for them to put sand bag dikes around the storm drains downtown, so the water can rise without inundating the core of the city--but that only goes so far, of course.

Cedar Rapids is divided into quadrants--NE, SE, NW, SW. The quadrants are defined by the Cedar River and First Avenue, and the "origin" is where they cross. I lived there for six years and still can't remember which was where, except that my apartment was in the SE quadrant, which was largely seen as the "ghetto" of Cedar Rapids. (I lived in a great apartment complex with few issues, and most of the issues were due to shit-for-brains college students who were utterly incapable of dealing with the lack of adult supervision.)

There is a ghetto section of Cedar Rapids that some referred to as "Little Chicago" but it's just a few blocks on a side, and it's just north and east of the area around Coe College.

But the Cedar River has a flood plain, and one street runs next to the dike along the river: if the river goes higher than that dike, that street (and the houses on it) is under water. At least in the SE quadrant, mostly it's undeveloped--mostly. There's the ADM plant, and between the ADM plant and downtown, there's houses and businesses, right down near the damned river.

My apartment was up on a sand ridge, on one of the highest points around, in fact. The entire damned state would have to be under water before that place would flood. The garage might fill with water, but the apartments themselves would be high and dry...and the entire area would have been evacuated long before the water got that high. (In fact, at that point, there would be a guy floating around in a big wooden boat with breeding pairs of every animal on the planet....)

Iowa last had big floods like this in 1993, but flooding was always a worry even during more normal years, and every time there was more rain than usual the weather guys talked about the river levels.

But the flooding has serious implications for food prices. Corn is already at a record high price thanks to the ethanol subsidy; some farmers can't even plant because their fields are under water, and the ones who did get their fields planted are wondering if they should have tried planting rice instead. Typical American crops do not grow well under water, and so it's looking like low crop yields will further aggravate the supply issue, driving prices still higher.

* * *

Meanwhile, here at the bunker, we had the windows open last night--the weather is unusually cool this week. So cool, in fact, that the heater came on this morning; it was set to 60° in mid-May, but the outside temperature was 49° when I got up around 5. Good sleeping weather.

Now the thermostat is all the way down. No way are we going to run the damn heater in June. When it starts getting down to freezing at night, maybe then.

I say that intending for it to be hyperbole--freezing in June--though if the sun really is entering into another Dalton or Maunder minimum, that won't be hyperbole in a couple of years....

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