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Flood Control Measures in Place

Flood Control Measures in Place

September 26, 2016, 12:16 p.m.

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – September 26, 2016 – Cedar Rapids’ temporary flood control measures are in place and Public Works engineering teams as well as US Army Corps of Engineer teams will actively monitor for any weaknesses and re-enforce the system as necessary 24 hours a day.

Residents in the evacuation area are strongly encouraged to leave the area. Returning to your residence may be restricted because of the potential safety risks in the evacuation zone. Residents are reminded that 16 feet is considered major flooding, and the river is predicted to crest at 23 feet. Temporary flood control measures have been constructed over the last 2-3 days in an effort to contain rising water, but are no guarantee of safety.  Evacuation notices should be taken seriously.  The public should not be walking, biking, or driving in the evacuation area, and should not go near or climb on the Hesco barriers and berms.

Public Safety Information
The incident Management Team comprised of a variety of City departments continues to operate 24 hours a day. The Cedar Rapids Fire Department is still responding to normal calls for service. Preparations for water operations and rescue have also been staged on both sides of the river. Residents are asked to avoid areas of standing water. Six inches can knock you off your feet, and two feet can sweep a car away.

The Police Department is actively patrolling the evacuation area and will continue to patrol until the threat has passed and individuals are allowed back to their property. The National Guard is in place and will assist local law enforcement with traffic control and verifying the presence of individuals in the evacuation area. These efforts are for the safety of residents and the security of property.

The Police Department would like to warn residents about scams targeting those in the flood zone. Do not give out your credit card information to callers encouraging you to reserve a hotel room. Police have also received notice that some residents are receiving calls from scammers asking them not to secure their property before leaving the evacuation area. Public Safety urges residents to secure their property before leaving.

Traffic Information
The left inside lane (which is closest to the median) of I-380 are reserved for emergency vehicles only. Motorists are urged not to slow down on the interstate to look at the river. Slowing down causes unsafe traffic conditions and leads to congestion.

Traffic is also advised consider 33rd Avenue as an alternative east/west route and help avoid congestion on Wilson Avenue.

For access to local hospitals: If you need to travel to an area hospital from the opposite side of the Cedar River, access is available via the 7th Street exit off of Interstate 380.  Both Unity Point Health-St. Luke's Hospital and Mercy Medical Center are open and operational.

Utility Information
Water Systems and Water Pollution are operating normally. Reminder that garbage and recycling will not be picked up this week in the evacuation area. All other areas will see normal collection schedules. Following the immediate flood risk, a plan will be implemented for the disposal of or potential reuse of sandbags. 

MidAmerican Energy has worked throughout the past several days to prepare for the flood. Crews are not allowed to enter homes that have been evacuated. When reentry is permitted, customers will be contacted and crews deployed to restore service. Homeowners will need to provide access to crews in order to restore service. Any gas appliance which has sustained water damage must be repaired or replaced. This is critical in order to prevent serious damage or injury. The effort to restore service is free to residents and will take several days.

Alliant Energy has executed their plan. They previously identified low-lying areas that are most likely to be affected. Crews are waiting until it becomes absolutely necessary to turn off power in an effort to keep necessary equipment such as sump pumps operating as long as possible.

Support Information
Currently there are two shelters open and still have capacity: Cedar Hills Community Church (located at 6455 E Avenue NW) and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (located at 1340 Third Avenue SE).

The Red Cross has a list of open shelters available www.redcross.org. Citizens can also call 2-1-1, 319-739-4211, 1-866-469-2211 for shelter locations and additional support.

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