(VINTON, Iowa) — Iowa residents awaited nervously Monday as the swollen Cedar River rose steadily to its highest levels since a devastating flood in 2008 that caused some $10 billion in damages and took one life.
The river crested in the town of Vinton at just under 22 feet at 3 a.m. Monday, less than three ft. shy of the record hit back in 2008.
Floodwaters invaded streets, inundating homes, businesses, parks, yards and stopping the circulation of vehicles in parts of the town.
“I think it could have been a lot worse,” resident Becci Sloan told KCRG, a local ABC affiliate, hours before the river crested. “There’s going to be a lot of trash leftover and a lot of wood and debris.”
Emergency crews stood vigil, preparing for the worst.
IMPORTANT: Flood Evacuation Notice https://t.co/oU3mho853U
Residents in the evacuation area are strongly encouraged to leave.
— City of Cedar Rapids (@CityofCRiowa) September 25, 2016
Downstream, the city of Cedar Rapids urged residents in low-lying parts of the city to evacuate on Sunday, as many worked feverishly throughout the day, moving furniture, removing furnaces and other vulnerable equipment, and encircling buildings with walls of sandbags.
Evacuations strongly recommended in flood evacuation zone. Temp flood protection measures are no guarantee of safety.
— Cedar Rapids Police (@CR_Police) September 26, 2016
“Residents are reminded that 16 feet is considered major flooding, and the river is predicted to crest at 23 feet,” the city warned. “Temporary flood control measures have been constructed in an effort to contain rising water, but are no guarantee of safety.”
— NWS Quad Cities (@NWSQuadCities) September 26, 2016
The National Weather Service predicts the river to crest early Tuesday morning, but the rising waters were already impacting the flood evacuation zone on Sunday, where a curfew took effect at 8 p.m. and will remain in effect until the area is deemed safe.
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