UI students report damages, inconveniences after Wednesday's storm, mudslide

BY MICHELLE KIM | APRIL 19, 2013 5:00 AM

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The impact of this week’s rain did not touch all residents in Iowa City, but it did bring an unpleasant surprise to residents of Mayflower Residence Hall.

Around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, UI freshman Ashley Ebelsheiser ran out to where her car was parked after she received a notice from a friend that her 2012 Toyota Corolla and several other vehicles parked behind Mayflower were damaged by a mudslide.

“There were like rows of cars, and it hit mine first,” Ebelsheiser said. “And then it pushed it onto the next.”

UI freshman Grant Holbrook said he went to the back parking lot around midnight when he noticed people tweeting about the mudslide. His room was also affected by water leaking through the wall.

“We just had to move everything from the wall,” he said. “Everything was kind of cramped, and my books were wet.”

Shortly after the incident, UI officials started cleaning the mud and debris from the mudslide. They also sent out a message to Mayflower residents to move their cars from the parking lot and suggested they move them temporarily to the Hancher Auditorium parking lot.

When asked whether UI officials provided any help, Ebelsheiser said she has not received any. Instead, she was told to call her insurance company.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said all students who have been affected by the mudslide will have to file claims through their insurance companies.

Iowa City received 4.57 inches of rain in the 24 hours from 7 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday, and North Liberty reported 8.28 inches, causing much damage in Johnson County, according to city press releases.

However, classes this past week continued as scheduled, because officials believe the storm had no major effect on university operations.

North Dubuque Street leading into Iowa City was partially flooded, which forced Mayflower residents to catch their bus at the Cambus stop near the Park Road bridge.

“It was inconvenient because we had to walk through the mud across the street and down the bridge,” said UI sophomore Morgan Meyer.

The street was reopened in the early afternoon Thursday, with Cambus service returning back to regular schedule.

“This is probably the most extreme of ground saturation since 1993,” said Rick Fosse, the director of Iowa City public works.

Fosse said officials are hearing from many residents about having wet basements — even from homes that are not located in a floodplain. So far, Clear Creek in Coralville has had the most concentrated damage.

“We’re first working for damage assessments and cost assessments on facilities,” Fosse said. “Then we’ll begin prioritizing any repairs we need to make and implement them.”

Other UI residential areas were still affected by either roof leaks or water penetration caused by the heavy and high volume of rain that poured down in the past few days.

Von Stange, the director of UI Housing and Dining, said Mayflower residents would be able to use the parking lot once it is cleaned up.

“The primary part of the mudslide happened in a certain area of [the parking lot],” Stange said. “We believe [Mayflower residents] will be able to access the parking lot once the lot is clear without a muddy mess.”

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