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It’s the Rain, Not the River

Updated: Monday, June 30 2014, 11:37 PM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) – Much of eastern Iowa is under a disaster proclamation, after several rounds of severe weather. In just two days in Cedar Rapids, the area was hit hard with two rounds of high winds and torrential rain.

It’s all been enough to cause flooding of some kind in nearly every part of town and it has Cedar Rapids and its residents working just to try and stay dry.

"Right now it's not the river, it's the rain and the wind that came through today,” said Cedar Rapids Public Works Manager Craig Hanson.

"There's a flood out here,” said Quincy Tobin. Tobin leaves near 15th Street Southeast, where flash flooding brought water levels up to and above some nearby curbs. “Yesterday it was just as bad, now look at tonight. Sewers must be clogged up or something."

By 4 pm, the skies opened.

Just a few minutes of a downpour left street lights dark, porta-potties turned over and branches of all sizes everywhere.

"We saw the first branch fall, land in the middle of the street,” said Katy Breitbach. She lives on the Southeast side and was watching the storm with her dog. Then immediately after, we saw the two large branches fall and land on my neighbor's cars."

"The main goal for tonight is to clear the streets of the trees and open them up,” said Hanson.

Hanson says the trees are just being pushed to the side of the road and will be picked up on Wednesday.

To handle the water, pump crews will be working around the clock, getting rid of the water that is already on the ground and responding to whatever else Mother Nature has to offer.

"It's a matter of you react to what you see in the field, and that's what we do,” said Hanson. “That's part of the nature of what we do."

Later this week, there’s no rest for the weary. Battling the rain will morph into efforts to hold back the Cedar River and it’s forecasted crest 17.5 feet.

Hanson says it’s vital for people to respect the barricades that the city puts up. He says many of the rescues that happened Sunday night and early Monday morning wouldn’t have been necessary if people didn’t try to drive through water that was too high.
It’s the Rain, Not the River

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