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Iowa braces for major flooding, more than 10 000 evacuated from Cedar Rapids

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More than 10 000 people have been forced to evacuate from Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second-largest city, after days of heavy rain flooded parts of the US Midwest. As it watched the Cedar River rise to historic levels, the city has constructed 16 km (10 miles) of temporary levees around low-lying areas. If the system works, Cedar Rapids will be saved from the second largest disaster in its history.

Greg Buelow, the city of Cedar Rapids’ public safety coordinator, said he’s watching the clock as it approaches 7 a.m (12:00 UTC on September 27). That’s the time he said the Cedar River is set to crest - holding at 7 m (23 feet) for another six hours.

The city has constructed 16 km (10 miles) of temporary levees around low-lying areas of the city and reminded residents that 4.9 m (16 feet) is considered major flooding, and the river is predicted to crest at 7 m (23 feet).

This will be the second-worst flooding the area has ever seen, but well below the 2008 record of 9.5 meters (31.12 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,” the officials said.

Video courtesy StormChasingVideo

“We have seen the system working,” mayor Ron Corbett told KCRG. “We built this barrier to 7.9 m (26 feet), so it isn’t an issue of the water going over the temporary system. It’s really more of pressure over a 48-hour period that we’re worried about a breach or a compromise in the system.”

About 1 400 homes and 400 business could be inundated if the temporary flood wall fails.

“The crest is the peak but the river is going to fall slower than it has risen,” Corbett said.

“So really we have this critical period now. If we can get through this, if the system works, we will have saved Cedar Rapids from the second largest disaster in our community’s history.”

Featured image: Cedar Rapids braces for major flooding – September 26, 2016. Credit: StormChasingVideo

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