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City officials prepared for updated river crest


A service vehicle makes its way through a flooded street on Tuesday.

With heavy rain falls throughout the day, city officials anticipated the river to rise but had already taken measures to protect Cedar Rapids for up to an 18 foot crest. The river is now expected to rise to 17.9 feet.

"Any time there is rain in the forecast while the river is cresting that's always a concern," Jen Winter the director of public works for the city of cedar rapids said. "It can have the potential of spiking, it's making the conditions more difficult, it's harder to monitor the situation."

With Hesco barriers, the storm sewer system plugged and water pumps running all day, the system is meant to make sure rain water finds its way into the river to limit flooding throughout the city. Permanent protections are in place for the Newbo-Sinclair district up to 20 feet and the public works department is continuing their day and night effort to keep everyone safe.

"We've got staff working 24 hours a day to make sure the pumps are running to make sure the plugs stay in place to minimize any leaks we have in the system,"Winter said.

For Linn County Emergency management coordinator Steve O'Konek the images of the floods of 2008 and 2016 are always present that's why it's important for him that even smaller communities like Vinton or Palo are protected. He also wants to make sure everyone understands, while predictions are important being prepared is paramount.

"Storms can do whatever storms decide to do they don't agree with predictions so we are very closely watching that.I don't trust any prediction until I see it and know it as a fact," O'Konek said. "We always plan for the worst and hope for the best."


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