Cedar Rapids flood waters on the rise but fluctuating

The city of Cedar Rapids flood waters are expected to be higher than initially predicted but are starting to lower.

The Cedar River which flows through the city was first expected to rise to 15.5 feet before growing to 16.5 feet on Tuesday prompting the city to make flood preparations.

That number then grew again to 17.5 feet by Wednesday morning only to lower down to 17 feet later that afternoon. On Tuesday, the city announced during a news conference that a temporary flood plan to protect up to 18 feet.

"We began to implement our city’s temporary flood plan to the 18 foot elevation and today we have completed all of those measures. So, at this time the city is protected above that 18 foot level," Jen Winter, Cedar Rapids public works director, said.

Despite the increasing flood levels (the crest was still predicted at 17.5 feet during the news conference) the city said it plans to stay at the 18 protection mark.

"We are well prepared to implement plans to increase this protection to a 20 foot level. We have contractors, equipment, and materials on standby and we’re confident we can quickly increase this level of protection if it becomes necessary," Winter said.

The city said volunteer and sandbagging efforts are still not necessary.

"Everyone in Cedar Rapids should take some comfort in the fact that we have very experienced, talented and dedicated team working on this. We’re going to do everything possible to limit the damage from this flood," Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart said.

Winter said the damage is expected to be minimal and limited mostly to city owned property.

Flood water has caused several road closings across the city. Police and city officials said they cannot stress enough to abide by the road closings and stay away from flooded areas.

The McGrath Amphitheater has also closed due to the flooding which prompt the cancellation of ‘The Temptations’ and ‘The Four Tops’ show on Friday night.

For flood perspective, in 2016 the water rose to 22 feet which was second highest to the 2008 flood which was a devastating 31 feet high. The National Weather Service puts 17 feet as the 21st highest crest in the city’s history.

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