[UPDATE 9/5 4 p.m.] The crest of the Cedar River has been revised downward. The latest crest forecast is 17.0 feet early Sunday afternoon, September 9.

[ORIGINAL STORY] The Cedar River in Cedar Rapids continues its rise and the city continues its preparations to deal with it.

Early this morning, the expected crest was lowered but after getting a better grasp on the heavy rains to the north in the last 24 hours, the river is expected to go higher than previously thought. It's now expected to crest Sunday at 1 p.m., at 17.5 feet. It will hold that level into Sunday evening when it's expected to drop. 17.5 feet is five-and-a-half feet above flood stage and is considered a major flood. The City of Cedar Rapids announced Tuesday they were preparing the city for a crest of 18-feet. They'll obviously be increasing that now.


I know there's a great deal of concern, and rightfully so, but let's put this in perspective. A crest of 17.5 feet would fall almost a foot below a top-10 flood in Cedar Rapids. Here are the highest crests of the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, to date:

  1. June 13, 2008: 31.12'
  2. September 27, 2016: 21.97'
  3. June 1, 1851: 20'
  4. March 18, 1929: 20'
  5. March 31, 1961: 19.66'
  6. April 4, 1993: 19.27'
  7. April 4, 1933: 18.6'
  8. April 10, 1965: 18.51'
  9. July 25, 1999: 18.31'
  10. May 27, 2004: 18.30'

The map below shows what would flood in Cedar Rapids if the river reached 18-feet. Keep in mind, this is without additional flood protection measures, which are currently being undertaken.


There are now eight different roads that are, at least, partially closed due to flooding. They include Ellis Blvd, Old River Road, and Otis Road. You can get specifics HERE.

The photo below was taken from Mays Island in downtown Cedar Rapids about 7:45 this morning. The Cedar River was at approximately 15-feet at that time. The two photos at bottom were taken from Mays Island late this morning. One of the 3rd Avenue Bridge, and one looking toward the west side of the river, near the McGrath Amphitheatre.

Thank you to all the men and women working to protect our city and so many others around eastern Iowa.

Julie James