Cedar Rapids flooding: What you need to know

Cedar River crest reached Tuesday morning

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Staff report

The Cedar River is projected to crest at 23 feet in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday morning. Here is information area residents should know - this post is being continually updated: 

Jump to: Evacuation and emergency information | Volunteer information | Traffic and travel information | Utilities and other services | Local government information | Other closures

Latest predictions: 

Q: What is the forecast for the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids?

A: According to the National Weather Service, the river was at about 9 feet as of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. Current projections show the river cresting at 22 feet later Tuesday morning.

Q: What is flood stage for the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids?

A: 12 feet is the threshold for minor flooding, 14 feet for moderate flooding and 16 feet for major flooding.

Evacuation and emergency information:

Q: What should I do if I need help?

A: Call 211. If you are unable to do so, call (319) 739-4211 or 1-866-469-2211. Elderly or disabled residents can call (319) 892-6500.

Q: Are the downtown hospitals open?

A: Yes, all clinics, departments and services for UnityPoint-St. Luke’s Hospital and Mercy Cedar Rapids remain open. They are not within the affected areas.

City officials have advised that the best way to reach the downtown hospitals from the opposite side of the Cedar River is to take Interstate 380 and exit at 7th Street.

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care Westside and Marion extended their hours Monday and Tuesday. Both will be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Cedar Rapids clinic is at 2375 Edgewood Rd. SW. The Marion location is 2996 Seventh Ave.

MercyCare Urgent Care locations are also operating with extended hours Monday and Tuesday. Both will be open 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The North location is at 5264 Council St. NE. The South location is at 2815 Edgewood Road SW. 

Q: Where are shelters operating?

A: The American Red Cross is operating shelters in Cedar Rapids at Cedar Hills Community Church 6455 E Ave. NW. and Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church, 1340 Third Ave. SE.

Q: How do I know if I live in an area that has been evacuated?

A: City officials plan to evacuate anyone living in an area that would be impacted by a river crest of 28 feet. To see if you are impacted, visit the city’s website at cedar-rapids.org and click on the “Evacuation Plan Map.” City officials said about 6,000 parcels are involved in the evacuation plan.

Q: When do I need to evacuate?

A: Residents were asked to be out of their homes by 8 p.m. Sunday, September 25. Evacuating is not mandatory, but is highly encouraged.

Q: What should I expect once I’ve had to evacuate?

A: Residents should plan to be out of their homes for up to seven days. Residents then may be allowed access to their properties to retrieve items but may not be allowed in.

Q: What are the curfew hours?

A: A curfew remains in effect from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., possibly through Saturday. for the designated evacuated and flood-affected areas. Everyone should avoid those areas, and public-safety and law enforcement checkpoints are in place. 

Q: What should I do about my pets?

A: If you cannot take them with you, find alternate locations for them — with friends and family who live outside the affected areas. Call (319) 286-5993 for other options. The animal shelters should be your last resort.

The City of Cedar Rapids has advised that pet owners can bring animals to Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control between noon and 5 p.m. any day this week. They are asked to bring: A copy of their most recent veterinary records indicating current vaccinations, and any other needed medication; any special collar or leash needed to control the pet; a supply of food if the pet is on a special diet; and photo ID of the pet owner.

Q: What precautions should be taken about tetanus?

A: Tetanus vaccines obtained more than five years ago no longer may be effective against a bacterial infection, the Linn County Health Department noted in news release Monday. Injuries sustained while working in floodwater are at an elevated risk for a tetanus infection, health officials said. Appointments for a tetanus vaccination can be arranged by calling Linn County Public Health at (319) 892-6093.



Volunteer information: 

Q: How can I volunteer to help in the area?

A: The United Way of East Central Iowa is coordinating many of the volunteer opportunities. Visit uweci.org to sign up and learn more.

There is also a Facebook group - CR Flood Help 2016 - that is active with requests and offers to help.

Q: Are sandbagging stations still open?

A: All public sandbagging locations have officially closed. Cedar Rapids officials are asking for volunteers to come to the former Kmart parking lot, 2727 16th Ave. SW, where sandbags are being filled to help the city shore up certain spots in the flood protection system.

Q: Is there a place where I can donate money for flood relief efforts?

A: The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation has established the Flood Fund 2016 and is accepting donations through its website at gcrcf.org. Both corporate and individual contributions are being taken.


Traffic information: 


Q: What bridges are closed in Cedar Rapids?

A: All downtown bridges are closed, in addition to Eighth Avenue, 12th Avenue and 16th Avenue bridges.

Q: Are there any special traffic rules on Interstate 380?

A: Yes. Effective immediately, the left inside lane (closest to the median) of Interstate 380 is reserved for emergency vehicles only within the city limits of Cedar Rapids. This is necessary to allow emergency vehicles to respond efficiently from one side of the city to the other. Notices have been posted on overhead Iowa Department of Transportation digital signs.

Q: What ramps are closed off Interstate 380?

A: The following ramps are closed:

Fifth Avenue SW/Diagonal Drive SW exit (Exit 19A) for northbound traffic is restricted to emergency and construction vehicles only

First Street W exit (Exit 19C) for northbound traffic is closed to all traffic

First Street E exit (Exit 20A) for southbound traffic is closed to all traffic

First Avenue W exit (Exit 19B) for southbound traffic is restricted to emergency and construction vehicles only

Q: What roads are closed in Cedar Rapids?

A: The following roads are closed:

First, Second and Third avenues — closed between Sixth Street W and Fifth Street E

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues SE — closed between First Street SE and Sixth Street SE

Eighth Avenue — closed between First Street SW and 10th Street SE

12th Avenue — closed between C Street SW and 10th Street SE

16th Avenue — closed between C Street SW and Fourth Street SE

First Street NE — closed between A Street NE and First Avenue E

Seventh Street SE — closed at Eighth Avenue SE to southbound traffic

Eighth Street SE — closed at Eighth Avenue SE to southbound traffic

Edgewood Road — closed form Glass Road to just south of Ellis Road NW

Ellis Road — closed west of Edgewood Road

Ellis Boulevard — closed from Ellis Lane to E Avenue

E Avenue NW — closed between Ellis Boulevard NW and First Street NW

Ellis Boulevard from Edgewood Road to Penn Avenue

C Street SW at Ely Road SW, by Tait Cummins Park

Old River Road SW at Big Bend Road

Edgewood Road from Glass Road to just south of Ellis Road NW

Access is being maintained for emergency personnel, construction vehicles and property owners only. The public is asked to avoid the downtown area, NewBo, Time Check NW and Czech Village.


Q: What other roads are closed across Linn County?

A: The following Linn County roads are closed:

Bertram Road from Berry Road south to sewer plant

Bertram Road from Mt Vernon Road to Blue bridge

Burlingham Road at Buffalo Creek bridge (bridge 406)

Cedar River Road from Hwy 30 to Hwy 1

Cedar Ridge Road: 4694 Cedar Ridge Road to 4741 Cedar Ridge Road

Chain Bridge Road east of Shae Drive to end of road

Dix Road: 5636 Dix Road to south to end of road.

Ellis Rd From Covington Road to Edgewood Road

Gard Road From Walker Road north for 1,500 feet

Ivanhoe Road from  Hwy 1 to Ľ mile east of Pleasant Hill Rd and to west 1/2 mile

Lewis Access between Palo and Center Point

Matsell Park Road:  from 3697 Matsell Park Road to north of Matsell Bridge Park entrance

North Alburnett Road: 5410 North Alburnett Road to north to end of road

Old River Road from Big Bend Road (now expanded east to Andrle Road)  to C St

Otis Road from 44th St to Bertram Road

Paris Road From Sutton Road to just east of Wapsi bridge (bridge 981)

Sutton Road  at Wapsi bridge (bridge 762)

Valley Farm Road: from 5055 Valley Farm Rd south  to Pinicon Ridge Park entrance

Wapsi Banks Road 1,400 feet east of Boy Scouts Road to 1.5 miles east of Boy Scouts Road

Wapsie Y Road: 2033 Wapsie Y Road to 2071 Wapsie Y Road

Waubeek River Road in Waubeek

Also, Linn-Delaware Road Just west of Buffalo Creek bridge to just east of Buffalo Creek bridge has been reopened.


Utilities and other services: 

Q: How can I have my power shut off?

A: Alliant Energy is evaluating power shutdowns on a block-by-block basis. Businesses that want power shut off should call 1-800-255-4268 and say the word “Emergency.”

MidAmerican Energy crews already have shut off natural gas service to properties that could be affected. Call MidAmerican at 1-888-427-5632. MidAmerican has warned residents not to enter a flood-impacted area if they smell natural gas, and the Iowa Propane Gas Association warns residents not to try and repair valves, regulators or other appliance parts.

Q: What are the plans for garbage collection?

A: Garbage is not being collected this week in evacuated areas. Regular service continues in other parts of the city.

Q: What about postal services?

A: The United States Postal Service continues to deliver mail where possible, but some areas are not accessible. 

Customers who have been displaced will need to put a hold on their mail delivery. They can do this at any Post Office, by calling (800) 275-8777, or online at https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/.

Customers in ZIP Codes 52401, 52404, 52405 and 52424 (Palo) will pick up mail at West Station, 1930 Wiley Blvd. SW. Customers in ZIP Codes 52402 and 52403 will pick up mail at Northeast Station, 1380 60th St. NE. Both locations are open M-F, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon.


Local government information: 

Q: Where can I find Cedar Rapids City Hall staff?

A: Cedar Rapids City Hall departments have relocated temporarily to the following buildings:

City Clerk, Community Development, Finance, Community Development-Housing and the Human Resources departments are at the former Ambroz Recreation Building, 2000 Mount Vernon Road SE.

City Treasurer (water payments) and Civil Rights Department are at Water Administration Building, 1111 Shaver Road NE

Mayor, City Council and City Manager’s Office are at the City Services Center, 500 15th Ave. SE

All Department phone numbers remain the same.

Q: How do I sign up for text and email alerts from the city and county?

A: For Cedar Rapids alerts, visit CRNewsNow.com. For Linn County alerts, visit linncounty-ema.org and click on “LinnAlerts.”

Q: Will early voting begin Thursday as planned?

A: Yes, early voting will begin September 29. The Linn County Auditor's Office has moved to the Community Services Building, 1240 26th Ave. Ct. SW, until further notice. People can register to vote there, request absentee ballots, and cast their votes there on Thursday once early voting begins.

Q: What about property taxes?

A: Governor Terry Branstad announced that the deadline for property taxes will be extended one month due to flooding impacts at the Linn County Treasurer's Office.  

Q: Are schools open?

A: No, schools in the Cedar Rapids Community School District are closed through Friday (as of Tuesday at 1 p.m.). The School District has announced that Friday, June 2, 2017 will be a make-up date. 


Other closures:


Q: I have tickets to see Korn at the U.S. Cellular Center on Tuesday. Is that concert still on?

A: No. The Korn and Breaking Benjamin concert has been canceled. All ticket buyers are being notified and may request refunds at the point of purchase. Those who purchased tickets online should expect an automatic refund. Call the U.S. Cellular Center box office at (319) 731-4510 with questions or concerns.

The U.S. Cellular box office will be closed Monday and Tuesday. VenuWorks of Cedar Rapids is working off-site to address questions, but warns that there may be delays in answering questions.

Q: What about Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre's Curtains Up event? 

A: Also canceled. The event will be rescheduled later, however, ticket buyers who would like a refund can request one by calling the Opera office at (319) 365-7401. Additional information is available at cr-opera.org.


Q: Where can I get more information?

A: Visit cedar-rapids.org, uweci.org and thegazette.com/flood2016.

For all of The Gazette's Flood 2016 coverage, please visit our flood coverage center.

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