It all seemed a little surreal to Morenci native Jennifer (Pummell) Hamner.
As a member of the medical staff at the University of Iowa Student Health Services, she worked at a freshman orientation session last week in the student union building.
Inside, the new students were learning about what to expect over the next four years of their lives.
Outside was an entirely different world. Students and other volunteers were hard at work placing sandbags along the Iowa River in hopes of preventing floodwaters from reaching the building.
Memorial Union was evacuated the next day as the water continued to rise.
Hamner moved to Iowa City five years ago when her husband, Everett, was accepted into the university’s doctoral program. Now she’s seeing what many natives encountered in 1993 when severe flooding soaked the region. This time around it’s even worse.
Hamner lives on the east side of the river and she works on the west.
“Buses have been running, but not as scheduled,” she said.
It’s difficult for vehicles to maneuver around flooded streets and to find an open bridge.
“I decided to walk downtown to get a bus rather than wait,” Hamner said. “I walked across the Iowa Street Bridge—pretty much as quickly as I could.”
She called a co-worker later in the day and learned that about two hours after she made her way across, water started flowing onto the top.
By Saturday afternoon, all local bridges were closed to traffic and Iowa City was cut in half...
(see Local Stories file)