Concern Lingers Even After Cedar River Crests

By Katelynn McCollough, The Gazette

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — City officials are beginning to work on recovery plans after the Cedar River’s crest Friday morning, but they also are aware of just how quickly river levels and rain projections can change.

“The forecast tonight really isn’t that much different from what it was seven days ago,” said Craig Hanson, Cedar Rapids public works maintenance manager. “That’s why in any case we protect for the worst and hope for the best.”

The National Weather Service is predicting 1 to 2 inches of rain over the course of Monday and Tuesday. But rain predictions for June 29 were similarly low, and then a storm late that night caused flash flooding and swift increases in river levels.

“We won’t come through and rake and sweep every single twig off a right of way, we won’t have time for that,” Hanson said. “What we will do is go get the big branches that are stacked out there.”

Residents are being asked to put piles of branches left for pickup in the right of way and not near their mailboxes. Any smaller branches placed in Yardys also will be picked up this week.

Hanson estimated that damages would total around $1 million in just those few streets.

Wait continues in Johnson County

As Cedar Rapids begins the recovery process, Johnson County continues to wait for Coralville Lake to peak at its projected level of 708.16 feet on Tuesday.

Terrence Neuzil, lead public information officer for Johnson County Emergency Management, said Sunday the Iowa River probably will stay at its current level until July 14, meaning Dubuque Street in Iowa City will remain under water and residents who were evacuated last week probably will not be able to return until July 16 at the earliest.

Neuzil said estimates on damages and the cleanup process in Iowa City and Coralville will get underway as Coralville Lake and the Iowa River go down, though the most notable sigh of relief will come once Coralville Lake dips below 700 feet.

“I want us to be out cleaning sewers, trimming trees and fixing our roads,” Hanson said. “We’d rather be out doing the routine practices than what we are doing today.”

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