Just to clarify what a "500 year flood" is, as well as a "100 year flood", the odds are that any given year there is a 1% chance of a flood that affects locations in the "100 year flood plain" occurring, and any given year there is between a .2% and 1% chance of a flood that affects locations in the "500 year flood plain" occurring. That means that on average, they will happen every 100 years or so (or every 500 years or so), but they can happen more or less frequently. Just because we had a 500 year flood this year, doesn't mean we can't have one again next year. The odds are very slim, though.
The fact is that Iowans who live along certain river basins have seen floods reaching the alleged "500 year" levels twice in 15 years. So, you know, they don't live in a 500 year flood plain as far as reality goes. They live in a 15 year flood plain.
The odds aren't 0.2% for them.
This isn't directed at David, who seemed to be merely correcting the odds from sound bites to actual fractions, but I just wish the media, the DNR, and scientists would stop talking about the odds and the clearly bogus "500 year" flood plains. The data isn't reliable. And past calculations are only based on data that's a few decades old.
I suppose my point is "Don't Be Stupid" about where you put critical infrastructure and buildings.
Which leads me to this story in the Cedar Rapids Gazette where Tom Harkin, Dave Loebsack, and White House deficit director Jim Nussle want $146 million earmarked lickity-split for the long-delayed Federal Courthouse replacement in Cedar Rapids. The current Federal Courthouse is located right next to the Cedar River, as will be the proposed new building, just a few blocks downstream:
So Harkin and 2nd District Rep. Dave Loebsack lobbied Bush and his budget director, former U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle of Iowa, to immediately replace the 77-year-old flood-damaged courthouse on the banks of the Cedar River at First and Second streets SE.This is incredibly irresponsible.
That would be a better use of taxpayer money than repairing the current courthouse and then constructing a new one later to meet the needs of the federal court for the Northern District of Iowa.
"We told the president — it was pointed to him on the flight, the helicopter flight — if you put millions into this courthouse, it's a waste of money," Harkin said. "So we need to move up this courthouse."
Where are the newspaper political columnists to hector Harkin, Loebsack, Nussle, and all these other crass dimwits who want to build a $146 million Federal Courthouse right next to a river which just severely flooded?
Last I saw, there was a dead mall in Cedar Rapids for sale at the bargain price of $18.5 million. Buy that and convert it. It's got acres of parking. Room to grow. Close to Highway 30 and a few minutes away from I-380 and the airport. Lots of shopping and restaurants around it.
Oh yeah, AND NO RIVER NEXT DOOR THAT WILL FLOOD EVERY 15 YEARS!!!!!!!
No, no, no. There's no way that government would be that smart.
Why can't we be smart in the future about this?
We can only tame the rivers so much.
I'm not saying turn downtown Cedar Rapids or the space near the Iowa Memorial Union into wetlands.
Just don't allow government to put all your eggs in the same wet basket.