Today I had occasion to drive to Mt. Vernon, to pick Lu up on her way back from a children’s camp in the Muscatine area. Since we are in the middle of the unprecedented flood of the Cedar River, the trip could have been qualified as an adventure.
Fortunately, while it was an adventure, it was relatively uneventful.
The local media was announcing that I-380 was to be closed, so I planned my trip to Mt. Vernon such that I wouldn’t need to cross the Cedar River. I took the Marion Bypass to Hwy 13, took Hwy 13 to Hwy 30, and Hwy 30 into Mt. Vernon. I’d originally planned to take the backroad (Mt. Vernon Rd.) into Mt. Vernon, once I cleared the four-way stop there, I decided to stay on Hwy 13. I was glad that I did, because I was able to see the highway nearly covered by water from the rising Cedar River. It took me 25 minutes to clear the Lindale Mall area, and another 35 to make it from Lindale to Mt. Vernon.
For the trip home, I’d planned to return via Mt. Vernon Road and then take Hwy 13 up to County Home Road to avoid the Lindale traffic. However, I’d heard that I-380 wasn’t actually closed. Instead, there were lane restrictions to allow the emergency vehicles to travel faster. So, we decided to escort our friend, the other driver, back to 380, where she’d stay on this side of the river while we crossed to the other side. Again, I was glad for this change of plans, because we were able to see that Hwy 13 had been closed (the water must have engulfed the road) and also able to see the flooding from the vantage point of the raised highway. It was clear sailing on Hwy 30 to 380, but then 40 minutes to get home from there.
Again, we took some pictures from the moving car with my iPhone. Compare pictures 7 and 8 to yesterday’s pictures, and you’ll see that the First, Second and Third Avenue bridges are completely engulfed. (Click a picture for more detail.)
3: Yes, That’s a Car Behind the Bike
4: Flood Waters
5: Looking up First Avenue
6: The Dairy Queen
7: “The Covered Bridges of Linn County”
8: Mays Island
The river has not yet crested. My friend Jim provided these updated figures:
- Current level: 28.5
- Predicted crest: unknown, but above 30 feet
If the river crests above 30 feet, then it will crest a full 50% higher than the previously recorded high.
One stunning feature of this flood is the apparent capriciousness. Some homes are completely devastated, while only a few blocks away, life continues with only some inconvenience.