Iowa State arena under eight feet of water

Hilton Coliseum? More like Hilton Isle.

If that sounds like a joke, well, it's not. It's actually pretty serious. After overnight storms drenched an already uber-wet Central Iowa region with even more water Wednesday morning, Ames residents are now scrambling. That includes the Iowa State athletic department. Hilton Coliseum, the school's basketball arena, was surrounded by flood waters early Wednesday morning, causing one Des Moines Register photographer to describe the Hilton Coliseum as an "island." (Hence the Hilton Isle quip above. See? I wasn't being a jerk.)

Iowa State women's basketball coach Bill Fennelly eventually reached the Coliseum this morning, where he saw the ugly flood coup de grace: a floating basketball court drowning in eight feet of dirty water.

"It was floating," Fennelly told Des Moines Register sports writer Randy Peterson. "It’s really bad what’s happening; it’s sad. This is my 19th year in Ames. I can easily say that it’s the worst flooding I’ve ever seen."

As a native of Iowa myself, I can attest to the occasionally horrific nature of flooding in the area. One of my earliest memories of hard, sustained labor came during the flood of 1993, when I joined my dad in attempting to excavate and drain our newly laid -- and suddenly water-logged -- concrete home foundation. I was eight. It was a bad summer.

Anyway, yeah, this flooding is bad, and you probably didn't need my personal anecdote to prove it. There's video, for that matter.

Fortunately, residents of Ames are already participating in the time-honored flood counterbalance: sandbagging. That includes members of the Iowa State football team, who are skipping their scheduled two-a-days to get sandbags up near the ISU athletic facilities. And hey, if Chris Allen's still in town, maybe he can help too.