Iowa Flood Center's system update gives users estimated flood damage costs

The Iowa Flood Center's newest technology helps provide estimated damage costs of specific buildings and areas.

It’s been nearly a decade since the 2008 flood. While the City of Cedar Rapids is still recovering from more than $2-billion dollars in damage, efforts to avoid similar situations are well underway.

"We want to see what's going to flood as we build it,” said Rob Davis, the flood control program manager with the City of Cedar Rapids.

He’s talking about the flood control system being built in Cedar Rapids alongside the Cedar River.

"That consists of levees, walls, gates, and pump stations,” said Davis.

The system will be 7.5 miles long and will encompass both the East and West sides of the river. The structure will protect a number of areas, but there are some locations that still need to be monitored. This is where research from the Iowa Flood Center comes in.

"You kind of see where that flood water will go and if you can block off certain areas you can see wow actually we're protecting those areas now,” said Davis.

Since 2009, the Iowa Flood Center has worked to help cities like Cedar Rapids avoid extensive flood damage. City engineers use the interactive map to help create evacuation plans, as well as pin-point areas that could be hit the hardest. With the newest update, the city can estimate how much damage may be done ahead of time.

"You can zoom into the map and go to that individual building and then you can click and see what will be the expected damage,” explained Ibrahim Demir, an associate

The update also provides an estimated cost of possible damages.

"You'll be able to go to any community, select the flood scenario and then calculate the damage instantly,” said Demir.

System developers hope to help city leaders figure out where to best place extra flood protection for any future possibilities.

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