"I have never felt such a fear. I was scared to death. (The EF5 tornado) was way up in the sky as high as you could see. I said, 'Oh my God -- it is headed right to us.'"
Susan Morgensen, resident of New Hartford, quoted in "Un-Natural Disasters"
"It was increasingly difficult to grasp the magnitude of the flood. It just blew my mind away."
Cedar Rapids Hydrologist Jeff Zogg, quoted in "Un-Natural Disasters"
The EF5 tornado that hit Butler and Grundy counties and the 500-year floods of 2008 were some of the worst ever seen in eastern Iowa, with millions of dollars in damage and hundreds of homes lost.
But through it all, Iowans helped their neighbors, picked up the pieces and rebuilt.
"Un-Natural Disasters: Iowa's EF5 Tornado and the Historic Floods of 2008" documents the stories of Iowans who lived through the disasters.
The full-color, 159-page book by meteorologist Terry Swails and his wife Carolyn Wettstone details the large-scale flooding and large, damaging tornado that impacted much of eastern Iowa in the early summer of 2008.
You can get your copy of "Un-Natural Disasters" for $19.00 by clicking here or by calling (563) 676-3320.
The first 200 orders receive a free bonus DVD produced by KWWL News. The American Red Cross will receive 20% of the proceeds.
"I went inside and started looking out the window. I looked toward the west and a split second later, there it was. A huge black wall coming fast. (I said to my husband,) 'We gotta get in the basement.'"
Pam Bleeker, resident of Parkersburg, quoted in "Un-Natural Disasters"
"We held each other and prayed. The sound is horrendous. It is like a zillion gatling guns shooting at your house ... nails spitting all around you. Then you could hear rafter after rafter cracking and windows breaking with tremendous booms and bangs. Dishes were breaking and two-by-fours battered the foundation. I thought the house was going to cave in on us."
Sue Hennings, resident of Parkersburg, quoted in "Un-Natural Disasters"
"I saw a big rush of dust like a huge cloud. Then a kid's jungle gym came flipping end over end down the middle of the street. Trees were snapping off. I thought it was the beginning of the end."
New Hartford Volunteer Fire Chief Brad Schipper, quoted in "Un-Natural Disasters"
"Two a.m. was like the witching hour. People who did not heed the evacuation order started to call. They wanted the city to come and evacuate them. The danger of doing water rescues in the dark is that you can't see anything."
Waverly City Engineer Mike Cherry, quoted in "Un-Natural Disasters"
"We were going into uncharted territory. ... The panels were the key to saving the city. We managed through the grace of God to get them in place in time. My gut tells me we were within three hours of having the whole downtown looking like Cedar Rapids."
Waterloo Flood Coordinator Jamie Knutson, quoted in "Un-Natural Disasters"
"The floodwaters had such velocity and current that as quickly as we put sandbags on the levee, the water was knocking them off. One of our levees then broke and it became obvious there was nothing we could do to plug the hole, and I knew the whole area was going to be flooded."
Anamosa City Administrator Patrick Callahan, quoted in "Un-Natural Disasters"