Two years ago Iowa City was hit by a tornado. Last year my hometown back in Ohio was underwater. This year, Iowa’s already been hit by an EF5 tornado, and now 49 out of our 99 counties are disaster areas because of flooding. And it’s raining now, and more is predicted for the next few days. All this is after an incredibly soggy spring where the rivers started out high due to one of the snowiest winters on record. Many farmers only in the past few weeks finally were able to get out in the field to plant crops–crops which are now underwater. So far I’ve not seen reports of any human fatalities, but flooding like this has the potential to take not only human life but also to put livestock in danger–and Iowa has on the order of 10 times more animals than humans. 2008 isn’t looking like a banner year for the state…

Image from http://tinyurl.com/3fgu9b

Comments

  1. #1 Bob Airhart
    June 11, 2008

    That’s a lot of weather induced social, economic and emotional distruption to cope with. Hopefully these things will pass quicky and people can pick up and get back to normal living.

    What impact does such widespread flooding have on virus and bacteria drevelopment and subsequent health hazzards in the enviornment?

    A fellow Buckeye
    Bob

  2. #2 supergenius
    June 12, 2008

    Y knw wht’s ndrwtr?

    ds.

    Nn n frc, nn n mrc.

    &qt;Thrt f wrld ds pndmc mng htrsxls s vr, rprt dmts&qt; – d Cck d-ccks t.

    &qt;Th wrtng s n th wll fr NDS&qt; – Rgr nglnd, kpn’ t rlly rl.

    &qt;NDS myths n DS pndmc cstng bllns – nw rprt&qt; – th Cmpgn fr fghtng dss s ntrstd n fghtng rl dss! nt phntms nd mk-blv. cn y blv t?

    Y’v gt sm prtty plgy lttrs t wrt, Tr. Y cn strt wth tht Pls pc – nc rtrctn. Y cn strt wth &qt;Thnk gdnss fr th dssdnt scntsts wh’v fght s lng t brng lttl snty t r hrrbly flwd nd brtlly-nfrcd prdgm.&qt;

    Tht’ll gt y strtd. Y cn pck th sttnry.

  3. #3 Umlud
    June 12, 2008

    Any idea about what this will mean for corn/wheat? I assume that if flooding subsides quickly – and remains at some level below flood-stage – then farmers can re-plant. But otherwise, food supplies (and ethanol-corn) is going to be a possible no-go. (Right?)

  4. #4 ADSL Başvuru
    June 12, 2008

    What impact does such widespread flooding have on virus and bacteria drevelopment and subsequent health hazzards in the enviornment?

  5. #5 ZayiflamaShop.com
    June 12, 2008

    Y’v gt sm prtty plgy lttrs t wrt, Tr. Y cn strt wth tht Pls pc – nc rtrctn. Y cn strt wth &qt;Thnk gdnss fr th dssdnt scntsts wh’v fght s lng t brng lttl snty t r hrrbly flwd nd brtlly-nfrcd prdgm.

  6. #6 Diyet
    June 12, 2008

    NDS myths n DS pndmc cstng bllns – nw rprt&qt; – th Cmpgn fr fghtng dss s ntrstd n fghtng rl dss! nt phntms nd mk-blv. cn y blv t?

  7. #7 supergenius's superfriend
    June 12, 2008

    What impact does such widespread flooding have on virus and bacteria development and subsequent health hazards in the environment?

    If t hppns n frc, thy cll t DS.

    Gd thng w sn’t n frc. Bt f t wr n frc, nly th blck ppl wld gt t (DS).

  8. #8 titi la wiwi
    June 12, 2008

    Wht prfct sttng y hv thr t jmp th snkng DS shp, wth ll tht wtr thr.

    Hv y sn ny DS rts swmmng rnd n ll tht wtr wh hd jmpd th shp lrdy…

  9. #9 Luna_the_cat
    June 12, 2008

    Dr. Smith, although I’m usually a non-contributing lurker, I thought I would just speak up here —

    My thoughts are with the people whose homes, livelihoods and possibly lives are in danger from the weather (for all the good that does, but still). And, just as a side note, some of the saner of us here would not mind at all if you wanted to disemvowel the trolls more regularly. Truly. In fact, please consider it. These people are straight-up tiresome and really don’t contribute anything.

  10. #10 BD
    June 12, 2008

    The Campaign for Fighting Diseases works to defend the intellectual property rights of Big Pharma (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Campaign_for_Fighting_Diseases). The successful activist campaign to increase access to cheap generic antiretrovirals is such a threat to the brand name industry (cf their responses to Brazil and Thailand’s statements regarding compulsory licenses) that they are now bankrolling the efforts of people like James Chin to decrease attention to AIDS, based on the idea that making healthcare for every disease inadequate is a more just response than trying to raise the quality of all primary healthcare to a level that is appropriate not just for people with HIV infection but any disease. That’s how far industry is willing to go to shut down the threat of generic competition. That the denialist trolls are now supporting Big Pharma is a testament to their complete moral bankruptcy.

  11. #11 James Stein
    June 12, 2008

    Perhaps it’s time to start instituting a spam filter? I found more trolls in the comments than I did actual contributors.

  12. #12 titi la wiwi
    June 12, 2008

    Hy Tr, hv y sn ths Grdn pc?

    http://www.grdn.c.k/cmmntsfr/2008/jn/12/ds.hlth

    h ths dnlsts. Ths trtrs!!!
    Whn d w rd yr pc Tr?

  13. #13 supergenius
    June 12, 2008

    Whr’s th plgy, Tr, fr ll th ppl y lbld, dngrtd, snrkd t, pt dwn, rfsd t cknwldg th skllfl, hmntrn wrk f?

    Whr’s th plgy, Tr?

    W’r nt trlls, w’r ppl y’v bnshd frm spkng ny trth hr. Nw, tll m wht y’r gng t d wtht th &qt;ffcl htrsxl ds pndmc&qt; t mk y fl s sprr t ths wh ctlly rd nd thnk nd qstn?

    Hw r y gng t frm ths, Tr? Hw r y gng t kp yr flck?

    Why s th NDS bng skd t dsmntl? Why s thr n htrsxl ds thrt? Ws Hnk Brns rght bt Pdn?

    Ys, h ws Tr. Ys h ws.

    nd y wr wrng.

  14. #14 Tara C. Smith
    June 12, 2008

    Luna, I have been disemvoweleing, but we’ve had power out most of the day here so I’ve not had a chance to check comments. As far as spam filters, we have them but they’re not exactly sophisticated.

  15. #15 Maria Brumm
    June 13, 2008

    Well, I hope you’re weathering okay – things sound pretty rough over there.

  16. #16 Ace of Sevens
    June 13, 2008

    I’m in Cedar Rapids. My job is under ten feet of water right now. I work on the 17th floor, but there’s no way to get to the building. I’m afraid that with Penford, Quaker, Alliant, Mid American, all the city and county buildings, the headquarters of every bank except Collins Credit Union and really every downtown business underwater and the paper factory unable to operate due to the damage to the steam plant, the local economy may collapse.

  17. #17 clinteas
    June 13, 2008

    Gee,

    and I thought Pharyngula had the worst lunatics…..How wrong I was !
    Fascinating to speculate what the raving nutters like dickdown,sorry cockup,have as agenda….

    Dr Smith,dont be disheartened by those people,I like your blog,you write great articles,keep up the good work !

  18. #18 Luna_the_cat
    June 13, 2008

    Sorry, Dr. Smith, it wasn’t meant as a nag, more as words of support. I also realise that, unlike the trolls here apparently, you have a day job which involves actually doing some good in the world, and that does necessarily deserve priority.

    Ace_Of_Sevens — let’s hope that things dry up soon; your economy is going to take enough of a hit from the damage already done. Geez. Ouch.

  19. #19 Nomen Nescio
    June 13, 2008

    Pharyngula has more amusingly insane lunatics; these ones are just depressing. somebody needs to slap them in the face with a trout, see if that might puncture their over-inflated egoes and make them more palatable.

    or, alternatively, somebody invite “woot” over here from PZ’s place. he, at least, never thinks he’s god’s gay lover.

  20. #20 boomer0127
    June 13, 2008

    yay! heterosexual AIDS is over! no more condoms for me!

  21. #21 Brian X
    June 13, 2008

    Tara: best wishes to your state. We’ve been more or less untouched here on Cape Cod by the worst of the weather, but then we don’t have nearly as much economic impact on the rest of the country as Iowa does.

    Nomen Nescio:

    Yeah, Woot is kind of funny. He doesn’t even make enough impact to be tedious, so PZ lets him stay around.

    Truth be told, however, I think it’s time for Tara to whip out the banhammer.

  22. #22 Dustin wonders what happened to Continuum magazine
    June 13, 2008

    Wield the banhammer. Though ’twas forged in the flames of perdition, its dark eldritch energies can be used for good.

    Smite the trolls. Rend them asunder with the netherworldly might of the banhammer. It is your destiny.

  23. #23 boomer0127
    June 13, 2008

    Oh come on. Let them have their say. It’s fun to find their inconsistencies. For example – “HIV doesn’t cause AIDS!” then “HIV won’t be a heterosexual pandemic!” so then I ask – “Why do you care?”

    If HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, why do you care about any statements about HIV if you really care about AIDS?

    Hours of fun, I tell you.

    @Trolls: I’m still trying to figure out what the apology is supposed to be for. When exactly did Tara (or anyone, for that matter) ever claim that HIV would be a heterosexual pandemic? Sounds like someone created a straw man argument just so they could knock it down. Your arguments, on the other hand are vague and confusing. Take a logic class and report back in 5 months.

  24. #24 Tara C. Smith
    June 13, 2008

    Sorry Luna, I knew you weren’t nagging. Hard to tell tone online.

    Re: banning, unfortunately it’s not all that easy to do without requiring registration (which I’m loathe to do). I did delete some of the repeated comments; disemvoweling once is enough, I’m not going to do it 3 or 4 times each.

  25. #25 Monado
    June 13, 2008

    Tara, be careful getting around if it’s flooding. Do you think it’s a result of La Nina

    If someone is waaay off topic and just tooting their own horn, I disapprove their comments. You’re the hostess, here: if people are gate-crashing and getting rowdy you can show them out (except for me when I’m being off-topic but witty).

  26. #26 supergenius
    June 14, 2008

    Y dngrtd r cmmnts hr, nd md thm nrdbl. Y’r rmrkbl chckn. S, gn: Whr’s th plg, Tr, fr ll th ppl y lbld, dngrtd, snrkd t, pt dwn, rfsd t cknwldg th skllfl, hmntrn wrk f? Whr’s th plg, Tr? W’r nt trlls, w’r ppl y’v bnshd frm spkng n trth hr. Nw, tll m wht y’r gng t d wtht th “ffcl htrsxl ds pndmc” t mk y fl s sprr t ths wh ctll rd nd thnk nd qstn? Hw r y gng t frm ths, Tr? Hw r y gng t kp yr flck? Wh s th NDS bng skd t dsmntl? Wh s thr n htrsxl ds thrt? Ws Hnk Brns rght bt Pdn? Ys, h ws Tr. Ys h ws. nd y wr wrng.

  27. #27 demanding accountability
    June 14, 2008

    Pls nswr m prvs qstn. Ws Hnk Brns rght? s ths sx dss r sn’t t? Y’v md yrslf th xprt, n yr bshng f dssdnt scntsts nd prfssrs, n ll flds. Y’v pblshd n th prblm f “dnlsm.” nd y “ds-mvwl” clls t hld yrslf t yr wn sttd blfs.

  28. #28 bibi andersen
    June 14, 2008

    Lk wht ppl, h…ths vl “dnlsts” r wrtng n th pprs n nglnd Tr. Ppl r rll gng fr ths str bt hw th wr ll msld. Y dd d tht t Tr. Y r prt f ths l mchn tht hs flln prt. Whn d y cm cln Tr? * Rvdc’s prfl pctr Rvdc Jn , :pm (bt hrs g) n m pnn, th mrdrs DS frd ws md pssbl rl n b th nqstnd ct f lmpng tgthr th nrltd hlth chllngs fnd n V-drg srs, bld prdct rcpnts nd th vr pr. Th rslt ws nw nd mprvd Pblc Hlth cnstrct, cnstrct tht prmsd t d-g th GRD syndrm nd prmt fml vls n th S, whl trrrzng frcns nt sng cndms n th nm f pblc hlth nstd f wht t ws — ppltn cntrl… B, ntntnll pssng ff th Pvrt ndcd mmndfcnc Syndrms (PDS) n frc s “frcn DS” n th sm w tht S Pblc Hlth Cr ffcls msrprsntd th mmn- dfcncs n drg srs, bld rcpnts nd th vr pr s th sm mmndfcnc syndrm fnd n g mn, th Wrld Hlth rgnztn st th stg fr “Th Wr n DS” t s tm t dntf nd rnd p ll f th ppl wh btryd r trst nd chrg thm fr thr crms gnst hmnt strtng wth th “xprts” wh sgnd th Drbn Dclrtn. * * xlndnrx’s prfl pctr xlndnrx Jn , :pm (bt hrs g) Y mn ths lt: “Th Drbn dclrtn hs bn sgnd b vr , ppl, ncldng Nbl przwnnrs, drctrs f ldng rsrch nstttns, scntfc cdms nd mdcl scts, ntbl th S Ntnl cdm f Scncs, th S nsttt f Mdcn, Mx Plnck nsttts, th rpn Mlclr Blg rgnztn, th Pstr nsttt n Prs, th Ryl Sct f Lndn, th DS Sct f nd nd th Ntnl nsttt f Vrlg n Sth frc. n ddtn, thsnds f ndvdl scntsts nd dctrs hv sgnd, ncldng mn frm th cntrs brng th grtst brdn f th pdmc. Sgntrs r f MD, PhD lvl r qvlnt, lthgh scntsts wrkng fr cmmrcl cmpns wr skd nt t sgn.” scnd tht. * * xlndnrx’s prfl pctr xlndnrx Jn , :pm (bt hrs g) vryn sms s shckd nd ncrdls n th fc f hw smthng lk ths cld hppn, bt ll th pntrs wr thr tht t ws ll lng. t’s jst n n bthrd t lk. vryn jst trstd blndl. Wll, nt vryn. Sm fght ths nd prt frm th gnrl ndffrnc r rght t scrn t tms, th ls gt stff lk ths pstd hr blw: Frm: Jhn P. Mr, PhD T: Mchl Ggr Snt: Strd, Jnr , Sbjct: R: Shm n y JP! Thnks Ggr! Wht y snt cntns sfl nfrmtn w cn s gnst y ppl! nd w wll! “Dn” hs t xctl rght whn h sys: “f th r bl t “jstf” thr ctns, t’s mst lkl bcs th smpl s ths s WR. Wr gnst th “dnlsts”. Nthng mr. Whn y’r n wr, thr r n rls.” Ths S wr, thr R n rls, nd w WLL crsh y, n t tm, cmpltl nd ttrl (t lst th mr nflntl ns; ft-sldrs lk y rn’t wrth bthrng wth). Jhn JP Mr s th mn bhnd DSTrth.rg. Th hv bn mntnd hr s prvdng th prf tht th HV prdgm ws crrct nd scntfcll snd. Tht s nt ll th prvd thgh s y s. Nw vn ths thrt hs lwys bn pblc, t hs bn pblc snc t ws rcvd. Th dtls r hr fr ths wh wld lk t rd thm: http://brnswrld.blgs.cm/brns_wrld///ndrw_mnts.html S y s wht ppl wh trd t spk t nd wrn gnst wht ws gng n gt bck? Thrts, frm tp ffcl f th DS mchn. Tht’s nt ll thgh. Wht bt th “strs” th “ntllctls” wh scffd t n mntn f ths fcts nd hlpd kp vryn bs nd dstrctd wth cncrts nd rd rbbns nd Gd knw wht ls. n th sm Grdn, Grmn Grr ttcks Jhn Lrtsn n rdr t rg hr pnt cncrnng th thrshp f th nvl Frnknstn, whch Jhn Lrtsn ttrbts t Shll hmslf nd nt t Mr. Grr lnchs th ttck frm th bss tht ths mn s smn wh blvd tht g mn wr gttng sck bcs f drgs sch ppprs nd nt bcs f th HV vrs, s h hd n crdblt t ll. Hr s th rtcl: http://www.grdn.c.k/wrld//pr//gndr.bks Ths s wht nyn wh spk t gt bck vr ths yrs. Jhn Lrtsn s ls th thr f Th DS Wrs, whch s ls vlbl fr ths wh wnt t gt t nd rd t. Thr y wll fnd dcmntd n th grtst dtl ll tht hppnd bck t th strt f th DS prblm n ths rl dys n th s mtng b mtng, nms nd ll th dtls f wh sd nd dd wht. Th trth ws lwys rght thr n pln sght. jst gss n n sw t.

  29. #29 bibi andersen
    June 14, 2008

    You are a coward Tara. A total shameless coward.
    AIDS is OVER Tara and you are OVER with it.

    Where is your apology Tara?
    Or are you going “heroically” down with the ship?

    We are waiting for it Tara…

  30. #30 bibi andersen
    June 14, 2008

    Sn hw mn ppl r wrtng bt ths str Tr? t’s gddm pndmc!! vryn nw knws wht bg L t hs ll bn! Thr r f blgs wrtng bt ths Tr. nd th MJR BRTSH lft-wng lbrl prss hs crrd ths strs Tr. Tht s vr vr mjr Tr. Th Grdn spcfcll tlks bt ppl lk y: t ws lwys “glrs myth” tht thr wld b n “HV pdmc n gnrl ppltns”. Tht myth ws th prdct f “msndrstndng r dlbrt dstrtns f HV pdmlg” b nds nd thr ds ctvsts, sys Chn. Rd th rst Tr: Th xplttn f DS http://www.grdn.c.k/cmmntsfr//jn//ds.hlth

  31. #31 BD
    June 14, 2008

    The screeching desperation of these people is unbelievable. The bit about Germaine Greer’s excoriation of John Lauritsen’s Shelly book being the work of AIDS Inc. offers some light relief at least. Maybe this is all about trying to rehabilitate Duesberg so his forthcoming biography of Mary Wollstonecraft doesn’t get panned?

  32. #32 bibi andersen
    June 14, 2008

    DS s VR! nd th nl scrchng dsprtn s cmng frm ll ths rts jmpng th snkng shp f DS ls. Jmp Jmp ts gng dwn fst!!!!

  33. #33 Tara C. Smith
    June 14, 2008

    To all the trolls, when/if I write about HIV/AIDS again, I might consider allowing some of your repetitive comments to stay. For now, you’re off-topic and incredibly rude.

  34. #34 Ken Mareld
    June 14, 2008

    Hi Tara,
    Inconsistent poster, regular reader here. My heart goes out to you and the state of Iowa. While we have Volcanoes and the occasional earthquake (Washington state), The disaster you are going through must be immensely taxing. Stay well and don’t shortcut safety on waterborne disease research, it looks like you’ll be at ground zero for a while.

    Good Luck
    Ken

  35. #35 themadlolscientist
    June 14, 2008

    ZOMGZ, I just read that Des Moines is being evacuated, along with the entire “500-year flood” zone surrounding it. “Disaster” doesn’t begin to describe your state’s situation.

    Note to the trolls: Grow up, stop being such a bunch of despicable @$$#073$ and show a little sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of people who are going to lose – or have already lost – everything because of this flood.

  36. #36 supergenius
    June 14, 2008

    We understand that the flooding in Iowa is serious and constitutes an act of nature and God. We extend our sympathies and hope that Tara and all Iowans survive intact and in good stead. We will hold further questions until it is clear that the situation in her State has returned to normal, and all are safe. We wish Tara and all Iowans the best outcome and good fortune in dealing with the onslaught of nature.

  37. #37 mediocrevillageidiot
    June 15, 2008

    Shame on you, you disemvowelled dnlsts – poor brave Tara is battling possible drowning and you have the temerity to DISAGREE with her. Not very sporting is it? Scientific discourse must always bow to the personal, pressing needs of the scientist dontyaknow? Such as the need for a new Porsche, a gold-plated bidet or new underpants, and yes, even the possibility of death by dihydrogen oxide.
    The dnlsts should go to the naughty corner at once and think about what they have done!

  38. #38 Dustin
    June 15, 2008

    Such as the need for a new Porsche, a gold-plated bidet or new underpants, and yes, even the possibility of death by dihydrogen oxide.

    I understand that working at Wendy’s and living in your mother’s basement has probably warped your perspective on these matters, but scientists don’t usually make enough to afford any of those things.

    Now, I’m going to go fill some sandbags around other people’s homes. While I’m gone, try to at least get up and walk around… it might help with the bedsores you have on your ass from trolling here 24/7.

  39. #39 sethmanapio
    June 16, 2008
    Such as the need for a new Porsche, a gold-plated bidet or new underpants, and yes, even the possibility of death by dihydrogen oxide.

    I understand that working at Wendy’s and living in your mother’s basement has probably warped your perspective on these matters, but scientists don’t usually make enough to afford any of those things.

    Well… most working scientists can afford new underpants.

  40. #40 Brian X
    June 16, 2008

    mdcrvllgdt:

    You know, it’s funny how you denialist yahoos get all up in arms, complaining scientists and doctors don’t show compassion because they don’t accept your twisted, anti-scientific crap, and yet absolutely gloat when not only your target but most of her entire goddamned state (a state that, by the way, produces immense amounts of corn, a plant our economy is incredibly dependent on) is in serious trouble.

    Not only are you wrong, but you’re borderline-sociopathic hypocrites.

  41. #41 David Harley
    June 23, 2008

    >>>>>>>That’s a lot of weather induced social, economic and emotional distruption to cope with. Hopefully these things will pass quicky and people can pick up and get back to normal living.<<<<<<<<<

    Disasters are hardly ever caused by weather. Weather events are merely the proximate cause that determines the date of the disaster. The risks of weather events, and the appropriate means of protection, are entirely predictable. Yet people have no choice but to live in trailer parks or wood-framed houses without basements, right in the middle of Tornado Alley.

    In this instance, as in New Orleans, housing development has occurred in vulnerable areas. Flood plains are for flooding, not for housing supposedly protected by levees. Human decisions, based on social and economic priorities.

    In this instance, as in New Orleans, land that acted as a safeguard has been turned to other uses. In Iowa, the price of corn has led to ploughed fields extending too far towards the river, increasing run-off. Human decisions, based on social and economic priorities.

    In this instance, as in New Orleans, it is levees built in recent decades that have failed. Older Mississippi levees have survived but the lessons of 1927 have been forgotten, and the recommendations made after 1993 have been ignored. Human decisions, based on short-term political interests.

    In the Netherlands, inland levees are now built to resist 1,000-year or, in highly populated areas, 10,000-year events. In the US, levees are nominally constructed to withstand 100-year events, but probably 50-year events at most. It’s a lot cheaper that way. The Dutch build sea walls to withstand 100,000-year events. They find American notions ludicrous.

    Homeowners are told that their houses are safe and they have no need for flood insurance, because the levees are good for 100 years. Neither those being told nor those doing the telling have any clear idea of what the difference between risk and gradual obsolescence is. Emotional devastation caused by inadequate information.

    The weather just provided the water. Humans provided the disaster.

Current ye@r *