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Much More Dry Memorial Day
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - Just one year ago this week, Eastern Iowa was bracing for flooding that the area hadn't seen since 2008. The weather, and I overall flood threat, had everyone on alert and put a kink in many Memorial Day plans in 2013.
The peace and tranquility of the Cedar River THIS Memorial Day is reflected by the businesses near and around it.
"It's been a little bit slower," says Alex Chalk, Assistant Manager at Lava Fusion.
His restaurant was slam packed when we dropped by last year, as people looked to escape the weather. Strangely enough, as the storm clouds gathered up Monday, the crowds never materialized.
"We're not expecting too much for the rest of the night if it continues like this," Chalk says.
Meanwhile across town, at the Chrome Horse, the crowds Monday were a big about face from last year.
"We were busy [last] memorial day," says server Danielle Garner.
The smaller crowds are not the only difference....there was something else on everyone's mind last year.
Towards the end of May 2013, right around Memorial Day, the Cedar River began to rise after a series of heavy storms.
It put Garner, and others, into action.
"Came over and started sandbagging around the entire building, making sure water didn't get in."
The protections and precautions went up, meanwhile, optimism started to dwindle down.
"I kept saying not again, please not again," Garner said.
Businesses in the Czech village, like Sykora bakery, were facing similar fears.
"He water was coming up again, and we didn't know what to expect," says owner John Rocarek.
Fortunately, the water resided and the city dodged the worst. With all that in the rear view mirror, this holiday has been a relative breeze.
"Whole lot better...a lot less quiet...less tense," says John Rocarek. "It's been very busy, but we've been able to handle it."