The flood waters have begun to recede in downtown Cedar Rapids.
But the recovery will take years, if not decades.
I’ve been watching KCRG TV’s live video stream all evening and I’m horrified.
I wrote yesterday that this is Cedar Rapids’ “Katrina.” It’s not hyperbole.
The water downtown appears to have crested about 8 to 10 feet above street level. Video footage taken from motor boats shows block after block of downtown with the first story of buildings almost totally submerged.
On the southwest side of the Cedar River, block after block of homes are submerged to the rooftops.
For those of you who’ve stayed at the Best Western Cooper’s Mill, I still haven’t seen any direct video or photos of the hotel, but KCRG did show video tonight of the Blimpie and Dairy Queen around the corner at 1st Ave. SW and 2nd St. SW. Both businesses are completely under water to the rooftops. The water goes up to the bottom of the Blimpie and Dairy Queen signs. So I have to figure the first floor of Cooper’s Mill is submerged, and maybe part of the second floor.
In my last call, I issued a call to arms for the other affiliates. Fans in two of the towns have already responded. I won’t get into details because I don’t want to create any unwarranted expectations, but I’m so proud of the friends I’ve made through FutureAngels.com because they understand we’re all one big family, and right now the Cedar Rapids clan desperately needs our help.
Of course, the Kernels and the rest of the community are in no position to tell us how to respond. For now, send your donations to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. If and when I hear of any official plans from the Angels affiliates, or the Angels themselves, I’ll let you know.
As for the Kernels … I just don’t know how this season is going to proceed. The visiting team hotel is hosed for the foreseeable future. Based on what I’ve seen, there’s no way most of Cedar Rapids will be able to reach Veterans Memorial Stadium — and baseball will be the least of their worries.
I hate to think that the Kernels might become a nomadic team, playing all their games on the road, but that might be what happens in upcoming weeks. Earlier in the season, Quad Cities used the Vet and Clinton’s ballpark for a few games while their neighborhood flooded. But their flood was nothing like this apocalypse.
The Kernels are currently on the road in Kane County. After Sunday’s day game, they return by bus to Cedar Rapids and have three days off for the Midwest League All-Star Game. Assuming they can even get to Cedar Rapids, where do they go? Some host parents may have lost their homes, and some others live on the northeast side of the river which is currently cut off except by taking the I-380. The next home game is scheduled for Thursday June 19. No one can possibly know now if that game can be staged, and they may not know until that morning.
I’ll continue to keep you posted. Keep the people of Cedar Rapids in your thoughts and prayers, and donate to the Red Cross.