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Des Moines Floods of 2008 – Part 2

So we head downtown to see what all the excitement is about.  We had a detour because one small block had manhole covers with water pouring out of them.  There was not a significant amount of water on the road, but enough danger to close that one block.  What a mess.

Here is a quick map of the 500 year flood plan.  Just in case you want to see it and my hubby would be so proud.

Des Moines 500 Year Flood Map

Our first view of downtown.  Des Moines has four vehicle bridges that connect the east and west side of the city as well as a railroad bridge and a pedestrian bridge.  The river comes in from the north and runs south.  This is the second of the four vehicle bridges, The Locust Street Bridge.

Here is an entrance to the River Walk. 

Here are the children up against the wall.  The water is never this high. 

Now, we have never been down there before, so we don’t know what its supposed to look like.  But I do know that earlier this week the news was filming from under the arch.  Now they are filming by the Locust Street Bridge.  That’s the camera man in the Orange shirt for Channel 13.

Just to his left is an entry way into the walk way that runs next to the river.  It is covered with sandbags.  Do you see the guardrail for the stairs going down into the water?

Here is the entry way to the River Walk.  Notice the tightly packed sandbags.  They are leaking, more like seeping water out the bottom.  Nothing major, but enough to make a little train of water.  I cannot even imagine the pressure against those sandbags.  The overacting Mom in me wanted to tell the children to get away from there, but reality was they had not failed yet, yet being the key word.

This is what it looks like when its not covered by water.

The next four pictures are taken in order from the north to south as the river flows.  Take notice on how the first bridge (the Grand Ave Bridge) is the lower than the Locust Street Bridge (the second in the group). 

No open space under the bridge.

The other side of the river is Downtown Des MoinesNotice the steps down to the River Walk at the very bottom of the picture.

The Locust Street Bridge.  Notice there is very little space under the bridge.  More of downtown Des Moines.

Here is what the bridge looks like under normal water levels.

Here is a flower garden that used to be dry, now its a water garden.

OK kids, just one more set of pictures and then we can go home. 

Promise Mom? 

Yes, I promise.

Miriam, Abigail holding Olivia.  Thomas, Bethany and Nathan just out of the picture.

In the distance you can see the red bridge.  That is the pedestrian bridge that has been sealed off for fear it would be swept away.  The bridge in front of it is the final vehicle bridge, the Grand Ave. Bridge.  It also has very little free room under it.

The buildings on the other side of the river and the other side of the bridge (the southeast side) are new construction lofts and condos.  There has been some flooding on the east side of the river due to flood waters coming up through the manholes. 

I think there is a flaw in the construction of the four vehicle bridges.  The most northern bridge, the Grand Ave. Bridge has the is the lowest of the four and if there is debris that gets caught up under the bridge, it will cause the water levels to rise quickly breaching the levies and causing major flooding north of the bridge.  It would be a chain reaction of events that could lead to multiple levy breeches and major flooding.  Only time will tell what will happen.  The Des Moines River is expected to crest by Saturday afternoon barring any more rain, which is presently not in the forecast.  Even then the risk of sever flooding is not over, it just moves south.


1 comment to Des Moines Floods of 2008 – Part 2

  • mrs payton

    WOW!!! awesome shots of that playground. I hadn't taken the time to check it out, but you've done an excellent job.

    We haven't been evacuated yet, but the shots my teen took this morning were almost as striking

    of the high school….and the water over the road.

    can you give me lessons on how to get zoom shots without blurring them?


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