So about noon at work today someone says they've closed all the bridges in town because of the flooding river, and if you live on the east side, like me, it's time to go now. And it certainly was, since one of those bridges, the 6th street railroad bridge, failed and collapsed around that same time. My brother left his work a little bit later and picked me up. We along with thousands of others made this long trek around the city to get over to the east side, eventually finding a way through across Conger. The houses on Sans Souci island, always in danger of flooding, were under water up to the second floor windows. So we made it back, stocked up on bottled water - getting the last cases at the Hy-Vee - and prepared for - what? We weren't sure. Rumors flew and fly pretty fast still; they were turning the water off. The lights. The 11th street bridge failed too (it didn't).
So far things are okay, for us, but the river is yet to crest and more rain is coming. We have maybe five feet to give on the dikes down at the river; if the river breaches them our neighborhood along with most of Waterloo will be victim to flood waters that are 26 feet over flood stage. These are the highest in my lifetime, and apparently getting close to the highest ever. It's strange to be packing a bag with a set of clothes, medicines and important things - documents, mementos - in anicipation the dikes will fail and you'll have five minutes - maybe - to get the hell out of Dodge. I hope it doesn't come to that. What frustrates me even more is that my mother is ill, shingles they think, and I've been worried over that for weeks and the entire time I'm thinking: what if she needs to go to the hospital? How do I get to the hospital? What if we have to leave town? Where do we go? Can we even get out? Black Hawk county is already a disaster area; it has been since the tornado that struck Parkersburg. This has already been a difficult spring. Hopefully it's a better summer.