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Flood of 2008: Iowa Time Machine June 8, 2008

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On June 8, 2008, waters rose throughout Iowa as a major flood enveloped eastern Iowa. Cedar Rapids and Iowa City ended up the epicenter for costly damage as major flooding on the Cedar, Iowa, Upper Iowa, Turkey, Wapsipinicon, Skunk, and Des Moines rivers occurred throughout the summer.

A wet fall and winter throughout much of the state led to oversaturated soil and prime flood conditions by early June 2008. In the state's northeastern portion, observers noted soil saturation reaching levels up to 125% before a record-setting rainy start to June. Rains continued to fall in early summer, leading officials throughout the state to take safety precautions.

The Cedar River peaked at over 31’ in Cedar Rapids on June 13. About 1,300 blocks or 10 square miles, including most of the downtown area, were inundated, with more than 5,000 homes affected. The Czech Village, Time Check, and Cedar Valley/Rompot districts, in particular, sustained significant damage. The city's domestic water distribution was compromised, as all but one of the city's wells flooded.

In Iowa City, the river crested at 31.5 feet (9.6 m), about two feet lower than initially predicted. At least twenty University of Iowa campus buildings flooded, including Hancher Auditorium. The University of Iowa Museum of Art also saw significant damage, rendering the building uninsurable by Lloyds of London, the art insurer (meaning much of the art collection couldn’t return to the site). As the waters receded, Iowans spent years trying to rebuild after one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in the state’s history. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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