Saturday, June 21, 2008

Iowa Woes

Q: Every time I see a picture of flooding in Iowa, I worry about your family. Are they safely out of the path of the floods? Is everyone ok?

A: Yes, everyone in my family is OK. Most of the flooding has been in the Mississippi watershed and we are in the Missouri watershed. There has been some flooding along the rivers in Southwest Iowa where my family lives, but not to the extent as in the Des Moines, Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids areas which are north and east about a hundred miles and further. There was some flooding a couple of weeks ago along the West Nodaway River that flows through Clarinda where my parents live, but I don’t think it got into the town at all and they live on a hill. Only a small portion of our farm is in a flood plain, on Honey Creek, which is not a major river, and does go out of its banks every two or three years. And we've got about three acres on the East Fork 102 River.

The story that has everyone heartsick is the 4 Boy Scouts killed and 48 injured in the tornado at the Scout Ranch near Little Sioux, Iowa on June 11. They were camped in tents, which are a bad place to be in a tornado, and had taken shelter in two or three buildings, but the tornado destroyed one of the buildings.

My father and grandparents had a brush with a tornado about 25 years ago. The tornado took the roof off my father's barn and destroyed an old garage and a corn crib, before passing a few hundred yards north of my grandparent's house, which was not damaged. My father spent a good hour before the storm hit arguing that he and my grandparents should take shelter in the cave, but they wouldn't go so neither did he. This was a great irony as we kids had spent a good amount of time in our basement at our father's insistence listening to tornado watches on the radio.

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