Historic flooding hits Iowa

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:07 PM GMT on June 13, 2008

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Truly extraordinary flooding has hit the Cedar River in the town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Rainfall amounts in excess of 12 inches have fallen in the past ten days over the Cedar River watershed, which extends to the northwest of Cedar Rapids into southern Minnesota. The rains that fell during the weekend of June 7-8 were fueled in part by moisture from Tropical Storm Alma/Arthur, which affected Central America May 29 - June 2. The Cedar River is expected to crest today at 31.8 feet, which is an amazing 19.8 feet above the flood stage of 12 feet. During the historic 1993 flood, the worst in recent history, the river hit only 19.27 feet, 7 feet above flood stage. Nine rivers in Iowa are at all-time record flood levels, and Iowa Governor Chet Culver has declared 83 of the state's 99 counties state disaster areas. Additional heavy rainfall is not expected over the Cedar River watershed over the next two days, so today should mark the peak of this year's historic flooding.


Figure 1. Total rainfall for the period June 2 - June 12, 2008, as estimated by NASA's TRMM satellite. An additional three inches fell over portions of eastern Iowa in the 24 hours since this image was created.

New way to track river flooding on wunderground
Wunderground has added a way to track local river forecast levels and assess flood risk at www.wunderground.com/wundermap/rivers. Using data from the USGS (the U.S. Geological Survey), the product plots river data and forecasts on top of our interactive "WunderMap". Users can scroll across the country and zoom in and out to view in-depth observations from all major rivers in the U.S. Alternatively, one can click an option to view only the rivers with current flood alerts. Each river observation is color coordinated to reflect its dry/wet percentile and users can click on each observation point to view data and graphs that display Flow Rate, Percentile, Current Stage, Forecast Stage and Flood Stage. Flood Alert symbols will appear on every river icon whenever a river is in danger of flooding.

The WunderMap™ also allows one to choose from a variety of layers including current conditions, animated radar, severe weather and tornado warnings, live webcam images and animated infrared or visible satellite imagery showing cloud coverage. WunderMap™ is available as a link on every U.S. forecast page, just under the small radar image.

Tornado outbreak update
The tornado that stuck the Little Sioux Scout Ranch Boy Scout camp in western Iowa Wednesday night, killing 4 and injuring 48, was rated an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. The tornado that hit Manhattan, Kansas the same day, causing major damage at Kansas State University, has been rated an EF-4. This is the tenth violent (EF-4 or EF-5) tornado this year, the most number of violent tornadoes since 13 were observed in 1999.

The Storm Prediction Center is calling for a "Slight" risk of severe weather across the Midwest today, from Michigan to Oklahoma. We can expect a few more tornadoes today in the affected region, although the primary severe weather threat will be damaging thunderstorm winds and large hail. The "Slight" risk of severe weather continues Saturday and Sunday across a large portion of the Midwest.

Tropics
It's quiet in the tropics. There is some disorganized thunderstorm activity in the southern Gulf of Mexico associated with a surface trough of low pressure, but this activity is not likely to develop. None of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

Sandbagging (Bubbly)
Great volunteer work on sandbagging in Coralville
Sandbagging
Flooding in Coralville (Bubbly)
Roads closed and houses evacuated; today multiplied both of these with floodwaters still rising and more rain coming.
Flooding in Coralville
Mammatus Clouds at Sunset (RCPlains)
Mammatus Clouds at Sunset

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330. trunkmonkey
12:09 AM GMT on June 15, 2008
323. trunkmonkey 10:41 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Sam, this is taken out of the NFP, please read the plan, its states it in the plan.
If a community chooses not to participate, flood insurance is not available from the NFIP. Moreover, if a President declares a disaster as a result of flooding, federal financial assistance will not be available, Sam I don't want to argue, I work in this field and our community doesn't participate, so we are out of luck.
Action: | Ignore User

Trunkmonkey - Your original statement said:

surfmom, to answer some of your questions, let me start, by saying this is a lose lose situation,
1. If you are not in a FEMA flood plain, you can't get flood insurance, therefore your hosed.

Show me back up in the NFIP guidelines that backs up your original statement that I disagreed with.

Oh, and by the way, I work in the filed as well & am not arguing with you but I won't let inaccurate statements like the one you made go by without comment.
Action: | Ignore User


Sam is there a way I may E-mail you, maybe I need an education, I'll explain my position and why I make the comments, Trunkmonkey
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329. SteveBloom
4:38 PM PDT on June 14, 2008
Re #323: I understand that FEMA doesn't account for the future increases in flooding (e.g. for calculating 100-year flood plains) due to continued warming since they only consider past events. Is that the case? If so, until that changes a lot of people will be vulnerable.
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328. Tazmanian
5:06 PM PDT on June 14, 2008
yes presslord
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115437
327. presslord
8:03 PM EDT on June 14, 2008
OK...Taz....I'm confused...Are you back to being Taz?
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
326. Tazmanian
4:41 PM PDT on June 14, 2008
what is this ???





wind shear is low for this so this may give it a ch

has you can see wind shear is olny 5 to 20kt wish is not too bad for this but has it moves WNW it will run in too lower wind shear and by time it gets to the E coast of FL winds shear will be round a round 5 to 10kt but it has to move out of the higher wind shear 1st i am not saying this will be come any thing but we sould keep a watch full eye on this for the next 24hrs and see what it dos by the way why has the wind shear in the gulf been olny 5 to 10kt and the same for the E coast of FL for the past few weeks or so???

Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115437
325. SamTeam
6:49 PM CDT on June 14, 2008
323. trunkmonkey 10:41 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Sam, this is taken out of the NFP, please read the plan, its states it in the plan.
If a community chooses not to participate, flood insurance is not available from the NFIP. Moreover, if a President declares a disaster as a result of flooding, federal financial assistance will not be available, Sam I don't want to argue, I work in this field and our community doesn't participate, so we are out of luck.
Action: | Ignore User


Trunkmonkey - Your original statement said:

surfmom, to answer some of your questions, let me start, by saying this is a lose lose situation,
1. If you are not in a FEMA flood plain, you can't get flood insurance, therefore your hosed.


Show me back up in the NFIP guidelines that backs up your original statement that I disagreed with.

Oh, and by the way, I work in the filed as well & am not arguing with you but I won't let inaccurate statements like the one you made go by without comment.
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324. Weather456
6:44 PM AST on June 14, 2008
Updated QuikSCAT pass...little wave-like signiture and reflection at the surface; instead the monsoon trough or cyclonic curvature is clearly defined; while the low level wind product at the CIMSS showed more pronounce cyclonic curvature in the mid levels.


Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
323. trunkmonkey
10:41 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Sam, this is taken out of the NFP, please read the plan, its states it in the plan.
If a community chooses not to participate, flood insurance is not available from the NFIP. Moreover, if a President declares a disaster as a result of flooding, federal financial assistance will not be available, Sam I don't want to argue, I work in this field and our community doesn't participate, so we are out of luck.
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322. Weather456
6:13 PM AST on June 14, 2008
The 12Z ECMWF is showing increase surface vorticity of the tropical wave near the coast but it weakens as it enters the Central Tropical Atlantic where SSTs remain below TC genesis.

The 12Z CMC is developing a feature behind this tropical wave around Friday.





Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
321. KarenRei
10:24 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Wind's picking up here. Still little rain, but the clouds are dancing in every which direction, and they're moving at a good clip.
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320. Skyepony (Mod)
10:23 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
This afternoon's midwest storm rain totals.
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319. Skyepony (Mod)
10:22 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Karen looks like a 2nd possible tornado just north of Iowa City now.
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318. TexasGulf
10:11 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
The world's poorest nations were already predicted to have a very tough year. Consider the following;
Devastatingly poor rice harvest in North Korea last fall leading to famine in N.K. this summer.
The cyclone in Myanmar wiping out this season's rice crop, which does have significant effect on global rice availability.
Extremely poor harvest due to drought and farm crisis (poor leadership too) in Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa.
Now, perhaps a below average corn crop in North America.
The already high grain prices will obviously go up again. The ones who will suffer most from hunger won't be in the U.S., but in the most poor countries dependent upon food aid.
As prices rise and availability is low... countries that normally donate food won't be able to afford to donate as much, either economically or politically.
Lower donations mean the poorest of the poor will have to afford more of their own food or else do without (starve). If grain prices are doubled, you have a harder time getting by on just $2.00/day income.

The whole cycle won't begin to be realized until early this fall. At that point, if the N.A. corn crop is severely affected or prices high, some nations that are already in trouble will be in crisis mode.
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317. rainraingoaway
4:03 PM CST on June 14, 2008
Afternoon. Karen, hope all is well. Gamma, you are right. Iowa just cant get a break. I hope too much more rain isnt coming down.
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316. sarasotaman
9:11 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
IN Sarasotsa Heavy small storm from Frutville Rd. south to clark. now west of 75
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315. KarenRei
10:00 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Amazingly we've only gotten a few drops of rain where I live. Most of this is going north of me. I'm on the south side of IC, in the Sycamore Mall area.

Looks like some new storms appearing out of nowhere to the west. Those will probably nail us.

R3... looks like that's headed right over the reservoir.
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314. Skyepony (Mod)
9:54 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Little clearing there but a tiny spot of rotation showing on the last frame just south of cell R3 maybe heading your way.
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313. eye
9:49 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
and your computer!
Member Since: August 21, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 147
312. KarenRei
9:45 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Yeah, I'm in my basement with my partner and our parrot. Still waiting for the all-clear. It'll probably be a bit before they sound it.
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311. eye
9:45 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
So true, if your community doesnt participate you can want flood insurance but there is no way you can get it. Some communities find out the hard way.....
Member Since: August 21, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 147
310. seflagamma
5:45 PM EDT on June 14, 2008
Oh my goodness, been reading back. Bless their heart, the mid-west just cannot catch a break. and especially Iowa. I hope this time there is no loss of life or damage. So sad...thanks Skye for the info.
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309. Drakoen
9:44 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Dbz max at 75 just to the NE of Iowa city.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30727
308. Skyepony (Mod)
9:34 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
KarenRei ~ You still around? Looks like Iowa City just got nail with 2 1/2 inch hail & a possible tornado in the last 5 minutes from that nasty cell we were watching..
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307. SamTeam
4:38 PM CDT on June 14, 2008
302. trunkmonkey 4:01 PM CDT on June 14, 2008
sam beg to differ with you, but not in Indiana you can't



It’s not up to FEMA or the FEMA flood plain, as your initial statement suggested. The decision regarding the purchase of flood insurance is up to the community in which one lives. If your community participates, then an individual can purchase flood insurance.

See the link below regarding community participation. Not familiar with posting a link so you'll have to copy & paste.

http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/about/community_preparedness_ratings.jsp
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306. Drakoen
9:36 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
305. KarenRei 9:34 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Tornado siren going off in Iowa City...


That cell moving in looks pretty nasty with 73 dbz on radar.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30727
305. KarenRei
9:24 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Tornado siren going off in Iowa City...
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304. Drakoen
9:24 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
It looks like the quicksat will catch the newly emerged wave. This morning's quicksat showed some fairly high winds of the coast so it will be interesting to see this next pass.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30727
303. Weather456
5:09 PM AST on June 14, 2008
Tropical Update
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
302. trunkmonkey
8:58 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
sam beg to differ with you, but not in Indiana you can't
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301. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
8:53 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
you ain't seen nuttin yet
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300. surfmom
8:54 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Seems like we all will be awakening from a sleep we've been in for many years. Hungry bellies wake people up from their sheeple sleep. Becoming more self-sufficient and less wasteful -- A lot of "entitled" people are going to have their worlds rocked.
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299. SamTeam
3:57 PM CDT on June 14, 2008
1. If you are not in a FEMA flood plain, you can't get flood insurance, therefore your hosed.

That statement is Grossly incorrect; one can purchase flood insurance without being in the FEMA flood plain.
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298. KarenRei
8:45 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Great, just what we needed here in Iowa City. The radar was perfectly clear this morning :P

Right now, it's all cloudy to our north, but it looks like the storm might miss us here in Iowa City. Of course, that means it's raining into our watershed. Just what we needed :P

They only had a 20% change of rain for today and a 40% chance for tonight. I wonder if this'll call for raising the predicted flood crest mark...
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297. surfmom
8:50 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Last year the increases did not outwardly affect the Polo world. There was a new thing where instead of one Patron carrying the team, there were two Patrons splitting the costs...this was new. The very wealthy in the horse industry will probably be insulated, but the small guys (like my boss) well, I don't know what the story will be.
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296. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
8:45 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
jlpr it just a thermal profile all the rain is too your north
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295. Skyepony (Mod)
8:43 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Surfmom~ Hay prices from the oil hike has been bad enough. This isn't gonna be good for the horse industry at all.
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294. HurricaneKing
4:47 PM EDT on June 14, 2008
JLPR, the SAT is not crazy. The thunderstorms are getting sheared and the mid and upper level clouds are shearing over PR. Where the clouds are thicker is where the rain is. You can see that better here: Link
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293. Weather456
4:43 PM AST on June 14, 2008
291. JLPR 4:34 PM AST on June 14, 2008

lol ohok
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
292. trunkmonkey
8:31 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
surfmom, to answer some of your questions, let me start, by saying this is a lose lose situation,
1. If you are not in a FEMA flood plain, you can't get flood insurance, therefore your hosed.
2. The good news is you can get a low interest SBA loan to cover some of the damages, but only if it is a declared disaster county.

The US AG department hasn't determined the damages of the flooding in the midwest because its still occuring, but they will, those farmers can qualify for disaster relief with them on the crops.
Food prices will go up, the crooks that raised our oil prices are raising the prices of corn and soy beans, so hold on.
The insurance companies will be raising our rates to cover the damages, which now looks in the billions of dollars.
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291. JLPR
4:33 PM AST on Junio 14, 2008
ah lol dont worry 456 that sat is crazy. by looking at that I should have some heavy rain here and nothing =P its just cloudy for the moment look at the radar instead =P
Link
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290. surfmom
8:33 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
hey skyepony - not long before the feed goes up again & again and......
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289. animalrsq
4:32 PM EDT on June 14, 2008
Thanks Skye.
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288. Skyepony (Mod)
8:28 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
AS for the tornado pic. I think that circulated as the boy scout tornado in e-mail, but was actually in Orchard, IA.
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287. surfmom
8:29 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Where in the gulf?? Texas????
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286. sarasotaman
8:28 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
Yes but this is the most popular blog on the website.
i guess we need a severe storm blog
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285. Weather456
4:18 PM AST on June 14, 2008
Some intense convection to my northwest

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
284. surfmom
8:19 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
#279 --this is just incredible, why are they getting SOO much rain --did I pick up something that correlated all this rain w/the jet stream being in a different position? Where is the money going to come from to help these people?? What does this do to insurance companies? I can't even begin to imagine all the mold problems, and the farmers --the poor farmers, upside the head w/diesel increases and now crop loss? Fires, earthquakes, floods,floods --ahhhh and we didn't even get rolling w/hurricanes --hmmmmm all this weather & nature is going to have big impacts economically & socially.
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283. serialteg
8:17 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
nice, it's good to have surfers - surfer moms - in the world, let alone the gulf coast ...

i once saw people surfing boat waves from big ships off the gulf coast for 3, 4 minute rides ...
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282. Skyepony (Mod)
8:24 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
West of Ceder Rapids~ There is a small amount of vorticy & could certainly end up going that way but for now that's big hail, like 3 1/2 inch...

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281. trunkmonkey
8:19 PM GMT on June 14, 2008
I'm a severe storm guy, and a tornado person, I came to this blog site to learn about hurricanes. I noticed most of the hurricane addicts live in prone areas, well, I live in Indiana, which is prone to severe thunderstorms and tornados. I've learned alot from the nice folks in here, I don't comment too much about hurricanes, i'm still a novice with these monsters, but if one enters the USA I probably will respond there with my FEMA search and rescue team. Thanks all
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280. weathersp
4:22 PM EDT on June 14, 2008
273..

Its not a tornado is a waterspout. lol xD
Member Since: January 14, 2007 Posts: 17 Comments: 4140

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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