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Cedar Rapids Evacuation Zone Reopening; River Drops Below Major Flood Stage

Cedar Rapids City Manager Twitter feed
Sign on Pololi's Restaurant in Cedar Rapids

What Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz called an “amazing and harrowing experience” this morning is now largely behind the city, though much flood cleanup work lies ahead.

The Cedar River level was 15.5 feet at 10 this morning – below major flood stage for the first time since last week, and down almost seven feet from Tuesday’s crest. 

Work to disassemble nearly ten miles of sand-filled HESCO barriers and temporary earth levees continues.  The city is reopening all of its flood evacuation area to people who own homes and businesses in those parts of the city.  The areas will reopen to the public at 7 this morning, through city officials urge people to be patient as the recovery work will likely cause traffic problems.

At the city’s final flood news conference this morning, Pomeranz recognized several people he said were essential to the city’s effort to protect itself from the flood.  The included the city engineer, construction manager, sewer operations manager, and traffic engineer.  Yesterday, Mayor Ron Corbett singled out Public Works Director Jen Winter for her leadership of the flood protection effort.

With the flood danger behind the city, much work remains.  The city has established several drop-off locations for some of the 250,000 sandbags that were stacked as protection against rising waters. It will also begin curbside pickup of bags that aren’t able to be moved to drop-off locations, beginning October 10th.

The city is urging people not to enter basements that have standing water, and to call the utility company if gas or electrical equipment has been submerged.  Repair work must be done by licensed contractors, and Cedar Rapids has set up a hotline for residents to call to confirm whether a contractor is licensed to work in Iowa.

Attorney General Tom Miller also urged residents to be on the lookout for people hoping to take advantage of the recovery.  He urged residents who need contractors to call the city to make sure the worker is licensed, get identification from the contractor, and beware of businesses or individuals that want most or all of the cost of the work paid up front. 

Mayor Rob Corbett also thanked city workers, contractors, and residents for their help during the flood.  He offered special thanks to young people who turned out last weekend to help fill sandbags and help in other ways. 

“If you watched the efficiency of the Public Works Department,” the mayor said, “I wouldn’t’ count on any snow days.”

Cedar Rapids flood information for residents and businesses.

Link to volunteerfor flood cleanup work.

Attorney General's mobile office will be in Cedar RapidsFriday and Monday.

Michael Leland is IPR's News Director