We learned a lot about something called a HESCO barrier five years ago on this day, September 27, 2016. It was the thing that saved much of our city from what could have been another flood, almost disastrous as the one 8 years prior. On this date in 2016, Cedar Rapids began dealing with what ended up being the SECOND-highest Cedar River crest.

No one will forget the highest-ever crest

The historic 2008 floods saw a huge portion of downtown Cedar Rapids evacuated and under 31+ feet of water. When rumblings of something similar began to take shape in 2016, many of us began thinking "here we go again". But technology met preparedness and thanks to the lessons of 2008, we averted something much worse in 2016, Iowa's News Now says that 2016 disaster had the river cresting at 21.97 feet.

Multiple flood control projects are either completed or in the works

The McGrath Amphitheatre was built, in part, to assist with flood control, and work took place in 2020 on the "Lot 44 Levee". Another big piece of the construction puzzle for permanent flood construction began on Monday, September 20, 2021. This one will eventually close one of the Cedar River bridges downtown until sometime next spring.

Here's a reminder of what happened in 2008, that left us beyond grateful for the progress that followed, made in time for a near-miss in 2016.

Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol




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