Flood of 2008: Mercy Medical Center Looks Back

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- On this 10th anniversary of the crest of the largest flood in Cedar Rapids history some may not remember the impact on area hospitals.

The crowd at Mercy Medical Center on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, to remember the flood of June 2008 and recovery. (Dave Franzman/KCRG-TV9)

But administrators and staff at Mercy Medical Center remembered that fight against flooding and the recovery at an event Wednesday afternoon.

One of the surprises of the 2008 flooding was water getting into Mercy Medical Center, located about three quarters of a mile from the river.

Until the day before the crest, June 13, 2008, hospital leaders didn’t think they were in trouble.

But as the river forecast changed, the call went out for volunteers to sandbag to keep the water out. Those efforts contained the damage, but two to four inches of water still got inside.

That led to an evacuation of patients to nearby St. Luke’s Hospital and the closing of Mercy for for 16 days.

Bob Olberding, retired facilities manager, says everybody learned a lot from that flood fight in 2008.

“In other words, to reopen the hospital after we had closed it took a multitude of disciplines and personalities to get us back in operation,” he said.

One thing noted at the Mercy remembrance on Wednesday—it wasn’t just people connected with the hospital who came to help.

Volunteers came from everywhere and that was true in many of the battles against flood waters that peaked ten years ago.