Lessons from the Flood of 2008

11/01/2008 |

Facilities professionals who dealt with the Flood of 2008 share their experiences and advice on disaster planning and recovery

The 100- and 500-year flood plains in Cedar Rapids, IA. (larger image)

It's a tale of two cities and two rivers, as one reader put it. The Flood of 2008, which ravaged eastern Iowa this June, caused unbelievable damage to commercial and institutional buildings in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, and surrounding towns.

It started with a cold winter and record snowfalls. The cold weather delayed the melting cycle, and record spring rainfall only made things worse. The result? Rising rivers and overflowing reservoirs, and floodwater levels that this part of the country had never, ever seen before - even with the Flood of 1993.

In '93, floodwaters reached 100-year flood levels (a 1-percent chance of a flood of that magnitude occurring each year). No one thought that floodwaters would ever be that high again. But, they thought wrong. The Flood of 2008 brought 500-year flood levels (a 0.2-percent chance of a flood of that magnitude occurring each year).

As the Cedar and Iowa Rivers rose (along with other rivers in the area), so did the anxiety levels of facilities professionals in this part of the country, who were tasked with doing as much as they could to save their buildings and the assets and people inside - without much notice. But, as you'll discover (like we did), the smart planning and valiant efforts of some of these pros helped get their organizations back up and running in the face of adversity.

  1. Mercy Medical Center - By Jana J. Madsen
  2. Alliant Energy Tower - By Jenna M. Aker
  3. The University of Iowa - By Leah B. Garris
  4. City of Cedar Rapids - By Jenna M. Aker
  5. Guaranty Bank & Trust - By Linda K. Monroe
  6. Quaker Oats - By Jana J. Madsen
  7. Cedar River Tower - By Linda K. Monroe

- Former Editorial Director Linda K. Monroe, Editor Jana J. Madsen, Managing Editor Leah B. Garris, and New Products Editor Jenna M. Aker


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