When the forecast of major flooding on the Cedar River first came out last week, Cedar Rapids officials and residents quickly went to work to save their city. Having already endured a catastrophic flood in 2008, many residents were relieved when the floodwaters crested Tuesday morning about two feet lower than originally projected. The Cedar River officially crested in Cedar Rapids at 10:30 am Central Time Tuesday at 21.97 feet. That is well above the major flood stage for this area at 16 feet, but well below the historic flood of 2008 that crested at 31.12 feet.
The city built about 10 miles of temporary barriers and berms around the downtown area and says those flood protection measures are working. Some neighborhoods not protected by the barriers are experiencing flooding, but the downtown core has been preserved.
Although many above ground areas are still dry, Cedar Rapids officials warn that the raging river is still going to stress the city’s storm sewer system. The Public Works Department said homeowners within 1-2 blocks of the river will likely see water in their basements. The forecast from the National Weather Service keeps the Cedar River above major flood stage through Friday morning, but then it will drop below flood stage by Sunday.
All Cedar Rapids Community Schools have been closed for the week. Many areas of downtown will remain closed to the public until the flood threat has diminished.
For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Corey Christiansen