Top 10 Gazette stories of the year: #1 The Flood of 2016 challenges Cedar Rapids again
We count down our Top 10 stories of the year as voted by readers
The 2008 flood was such a major event in the Cedar Rapids to Iowa City Corridor that even 8 years later when another flood threatened again, it only made the city’s mostly successful response in 2016 that much more important. In other words, the flood of 2016’s impact would likely have made it the biggest story of the year anyway, but the echoes of 2008 cemented it as our number one story.
This past September, a clustered deluge of rainfall in Northeast Iowa began the chain reaction that would lead to flooding all the way south down the Cedar River. As the Cedar River approached and then ballooned over major flood stage, the city and hundreds of volunteers circled the wagons to protect their downtown, and those wagons were full of sand.
With these city defenders working together, the city made use of the flood mitigation efforts it had implemented since the flood of 2008 and added walls of sandfilled HESCO barriers, sandbags, strategically placed earthen flood berms, and specialized sewer equipment (among other things) to fend off the flood water that crested at around 22 feet, 6 feet over what is considered major flood stage at 16 feet.
It wasn’t all success, as some buildings were not protected by the city’s barriers, other areas took on flood damage despite the city’s best efforts. Meanwhile, the temporary flood barriers secured by the city, while they likely prevented much more costly damages, also cost millions of dollars to install and remove. What remains to be seen now is if the city can finally move forward on more permanent flood prevention efforts so the the flood of Year (fill in the blank) will go even smoother at less cost.
Here are some links with our coverage from the flooding, but it really just scratches the surface. If you want more flooding coverage, including coverage of towns outside of Cedar Rapids, head to our designated Flood 2016 page.