Cedar Rapids roads close, homeowners brace for the worst

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Rivers continue to rise across Eastern Iowa Thursday. It's leaving homeowners in Cedar Rapids hoping for dry and colder days ahead. Dan Holl said he's definitely concerned to say the least.

"I'm really hoping it doesn't happen as bad as it did in 2008 but I'm watching and hoping."

Authorities blocked off Bowling and J Street Thursday. It's what Dan Holl calls the first red flag of past serious floods. While the water hasn't gotten to his house yet, he worries it's only a matter of time.

"Since this morning, it's gone up about a foot," said Holl.

Holl has lived behind Prairie Creek for more than a decade so he's more than familiar with flooding.

"Once it comes up the railroad tracks, it heads up the house and we have got to get ready to get out of here," said Holl.

So far, his home itself is dry but there's still lots of snow that needs to melt around his yard and down by the tracks. Once it melts, it could be what leaves his home submerged.

"There's a lot of snow on the other side where the city is," said Holl. "They had a lot of snow piled up and it's melting. It still isn't all melted yet so we're going to keep a close eye on it."

Holl isn't the only one worried, either.

"We've received a lot of calls from concerned homeowners," said Linn County Emergency Management Operations Officer Tom Ulrich.

Ulrich said people should move any snow piles they have far away from their houses and take extra precautions over the coming weeks.

"If you need to go buy some sandbags, put them around the basement windows," said Ulrich. "If it's pooling that much, definitely do it."

Holl said, in 2008, the flooding came fast and with a vengeance.

"We lost a lot," said Holl. "We just weren't prepared for it to come that fast."

It's why, with the high chance of spring flooding, this year Holl said he's not taking any chances.

"I'm actually making some preparations right now and getting stuff ready, just in case," said Holl.

The rise will continue through the weekend in several towns, including Cedar Rapids.

Emergency management also wants to remind people on roads to turn around if they see standing water. Ulrich said it's impossible to know exactly how deep it is from a distance and even water six inches deep can cause a car to slip off the road.