Weather

A year after flood, Hamburg hopes to keep levee

Aug 7, 2012
Nati Harnik / AP

Last summer, Iowa and Nebraska were in the grips of major flooding along the Missouri River. Now, a small southwest Iowa community hopes to make permanent a levee that protected them from the river. 

To find out more about the levee project, click here.

The Word Maven

Aug 2, 2012

Words like tornado and Derecho fascinate and frighten and they both have surprising histories. Charity talks with English language expert Patricia O’Conner who looks at  the origins of weather related words.  Patricia answers all questions that relate to the English language.

Summer Drought

Jul 19, 2012
Clint Alley / flickr

Most of Iowa is now experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions… along with more than half the country.  On today's "River to River' we hear from farmers, business owners and cities about how they’re being affected.  We talk with Elwynn Taylor about the prospects for turning the dry weather around.  And Harry Hillaker tells us how this drought compares with others in the state’s history. 

1st Sgt. Duff McFadden, Iowa National Guard / flickr

A tornado devastated Parkersburg in 2008, fire gutted Grinnell in 1889, and in the 1980s Bell Plaine was laid low by the farm crisis. When disaster strikes, the repercussions can be felt for decades to come. We continue our series on Iowa towns, with communities that have been shaped by disaster.

Clay Masters / IPR

The mighty Missouri River flows through 7 states and drains one-sixth of the water in the United States.  It’s a powerful force that gives life to the land.  But last year’s flood that lasted over 110 days has people talking… and fighting for the future. Here’s Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters, with part two of our special report.

Clay Masters / IPR

The floodwaters that ravaged homes, businesses and farms along a vast stretch of the Missouri River last year are not a distant memory. And as the difficult cleanup and recovery continues, concerns have intensified between those who want there to be more control of this river, and those who believe it should flow freely. In part one of a two-part report, Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters finds that common ground has yet to find traction.

Last Friday a new painting was unveiled in Cedar Rapids titled “You Know, We’re all in This Together”.  The work features dozens of optimistic community members in a scene about a city still recovering from the devastating flood of 2008.

Joplin, One Year Later

May 21, 2012
Liam Kieffer

One year ago – on May 22, 2011 – one of the deadliest tornados in U.S. history struck the city of Joplin, Missouri. The twister killed 160 people and injured hundreds more.

Recently, IPR’s Ben Kieffer traveled to Joplin to talk with tornado survivors. 

He also spoke with researchers from Iowa State University who went to Joplin in the immediate aftermath. They surveyed structural damage to find out what it reveals about how best to survive a tornado.  

Joplin Anniversary

May 18, 2012
Liam Kieffer

One year after one of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history struck Joplin, Missouri, host Ben Kieffer takes us on trip to Joplin to talk with survivors of the disaster.

We hear from Martha Goldman and Ian Coday, the young couple who survived in their closet as the house around them was ripped away. Also, 76-yr old Carolyn Pendergraft talks about surviving in her basement while above her half century-old donut shop was destroyed.

Nearly four years after the 2008 flood in Cedar Rapids, you can still sell your damaged home to the city. That window’s about to close, however. More than 100 people have signed up for the final round of buyouts – even though they’ve stuck it out this long. Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Wells reports.

Last fall, officials predicted that farmland along the Missouri River might be out of production for at least a year. The flood of 2011 piled up sand dunes, gouged out deep holes and killed off many of the microbes that help crops grow.

But now it’s spring, and farmers are back on the land trying to fix what nature broke.

There’s something not quite picture-perfect about this picturesque farmland, known as Blackbird Bend, along the Missouri River near Onawa.   A 24-row corn planter is brushing over the tops of an already stunning winter wheat crop, twelve inches high. 

Severe weather experts from throughout the country will be at an annual Severe Storms and Doppler Radar Conference in Ankeny later this week.  Join host Ben Kieffer as he talks with storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski who will give his firsthand account of last year’s massive tornado in Joplin, Missouri.  Ben also talks with Alabama TV meteorologist James Spann of ABC 33/40 in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa about his experience broadcasting severe weather coverage during a violent outbreak of storms in April of last year.  Finally, Ben talks with National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Smith about

Severe weather experts from throughout the country will be at an annual Severe Storms and Doppler Radar Conference in Ankeny later this week.  Join host Ben Kieffer as he talks with storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski who will give his firsthand account of last year’s massive tornado in Joplin, Missouri.  Ben also talks with Alabama TV meteorologist James Spann of ABC 33/40 in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa about his experience broadcasting severe weather coverage during a violent outbreak of storms in April of last year.  Finally, Ben talks with National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Smith about

In the past week, scores of people have been killed and injured by tornadoes in the Midwest and South. Ben Kieffer talks with meteorologist Alan Czarnetzki of the University of Northern Iowa about the series of deadly storms and the weather outlook in Iowa as we approach spring. Ben will also talk with the Director of Iowa's Economic Development Authority Debi Durham about growing Iowa's economy and its population.

The shovels and snow blowers remain locked in the garage and golf courses are open for business- not the typical January in Iowa. Ben talks with Craig Cogil of the National Weather Service about changing Midwest weather patterns and State Climatologist Harry Hillaker checks in with his 2011 weather summary. Later, the new head of Iowa's Homeland Security Department, Mark Schouten, lays out his priorities for the coming year.

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