Evacuation Of Cedar Rapids Under Way

Extreme One-Day Precipitation Events in the Contiguous 48 States. Bars = years; line = 9-year trend. Image Credit: U.S. EPA

Extreme One-Day Precipitation Events in the Contiguous 48 States. Bars = years; line = 9-year trend. Image Credit: U.S. EPA

The headline from this morning’s Des Moines Register was that residents of 5,000 Cedar Rapids homes were asked to evacuate in advance of the flood crest predicted to arrive Tuesday morning. The height of the crest has been revised downward to 23 feet, however, damage is expected to be severe.

Cedar Rapids fire officials plan to ask for the names of next of kin of residents who refuse to leave the flood zone.

City officials say government has been preparing for a major flood since the record-breaking 2008 event.

There is bravura in the execution of the local preparations indicating the city knows how to mobilize to prevent anticipated damage — better than it did in 2008. It is always good to see people coming together in times of natural disaster to help each other.

At the same time, almost everyone in government, in news media and in other accounts of the disaster fail to consider the root causes of the heavy precipitation events driving record flooding. The world continues to annually dump more than 38 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere like it was an open sewer. That’s 2.4 million pounds per second.

News media and politicians may be enamored of the story of human resistance to the forces of nature, but failure to address the root cause of increased levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through proper governance should be unacceptable.

Government plays a significant role in mitigating the effects of climate change. Perhaps it’s time we changed the current crop of politicians who fill elected office seats from those who are cheer leaders for reaction to natural disasters to those who will take action to prevent them.

Without action, the chart above from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will continue to map a direction that puts people and assets in jeopardy.

We should know better and do something about global warming and climate change as a society.

Godspeed Cedar Rapids. May your elected officials who don’t do so already perceive tomorrow’s flooding as a wake-up call to action.

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