In early June 2008, Midwestern states of the United States were hit with back-to-back storms. Accompanying the storms were record breaking levels of rainfall, leading to the flooding of rivers and breeching of levees. Iowa lay at the heart of the destruction, suffering its worst flood in more than 50 years. The Cedar River was exposed to water levels of 32 feet, exceeding the historic record set back in 1929. The Mississippi River, among the largest rivers of the world, also reached record heights of 37 feet; 7 feet above flood level. The resulting damage from the flooding rivers was disastrous. In Iowa alone, 83 of 99 counties were labelled “disaster areas”. In Cedar Rapids, part of Linn Country, 1,300 city blocks (9.2 square miles) were covered in water, engulfing the City Hall, Linn County jail, fire department, and public library. Moreover, in Iowa City, Johnson County, the city area and the University of Iowa experienced severe flooding leading to the evacuation of many homes and the closure of parts of the University. In total, roughly 35,000 to 40,000 people were driven from their homes
The disastrous flooding lasted from early June to early July damaging 5,238 homes, 940 businesses, and 77 faith organizations. In Cedar Rapids, damage was estimated at over $1.5 billion. The agricultural industry suffered a $2 billion loss, as many corn and soybean crops were destroyed. Most devastating was the loss of life. Approximately 2 dozen people were killed, and 150 injured. Overall, the flooding ranks among the top 10 disasters in U.S. history.