Weather. 2008 has already given us enough crazy weather, and there seems to be no end in sight. Usually by mid-June, we have been on the Madison lakes for six weeks – fishing, boating, tubing. But this year has been unusual, weather-wise. First a crazy winter with a record breaking 100+ inches of snow, then a spring that didn’t arrive until the end of April, and now so much rain and flooding that the Madison lakes are effectively closed for recreation.
Boats are still allowed on the lakes, but the entire chain of lakes is under a “no-wake zone.” The swimming areas and beaches is usually filled with people by now, but no one is playing in the water these days and the beaches are all underwater. I’m not complaining, though. I may be inconvenienced, but that is all. In Madison, most of us are counting our blessings and keeping our fingers crossed.
On a slightly different note, the Mississippi River is expected to crest on Friday in my hometown – Quincy, IL. The bridge is closed heading into Missouri there, and at numerous other sites connecting the states of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. In Quincy, people have come from around the country to help fill more than 750,000 sandbags. These bags are surrounding levees and threatened utilities. The water treatment plant is surrounded by thousands of these sandbags and people are praying they will hold back the river. If they don’t, Quincy residents have access to three days worth of city water. Then the city of 45,000 would have to rely on bottled water.
One man brought his teenage children to Quincy this week from Colorado Springs, Colorado to fill sandbags. He said he wanted them to have the experience of helping others who are dealing with a natural disaster of this proportion. College students who attend area schools have returned to many river communities from their Chicago homes to help sandbag the levees. 300 Amish from the Amana Colonies in Iowa are helping. The National Guard is there sandbagging and providing needed services.
It’s heartening to hear the many people coming together to help each another. The Red Cross and other agencies are providing needed services and are asking for all the help they can get.
A big thank you to everyone who making an effort and making a difference.
As of 1 pm: 4 levees have broken, farms and houses flooded for 25 miles south of Quincy. The water treatment plant is still open.