CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -- Cedar Rapids city leaders say it is much better prepared for flooding now than in 2008.
Cedar Rapids incident command is now open to respond and will stay open until the water recedes. The evacuation will begin at Sunday at 8:00 pm with a curfew starting at that time, too.
The city expects to see flood impacts Sunday, including water coming out of manhole covers, which is normal and expected. Officials say crews are nearly finished installing flood levees, sandbags and Hesco barriers. Sunday, crews will be strengthening those protections. Edgewood Road at Ellis Blvd. NW is expected to close Sunday night, which would also close the bridge over the Cedar River, making I-380 and Highway 30 the only ways in Cedar Rapids to get over the river.
"We still have one more day to go, one more day to do everything we can," said Mayor Ron Corbett.
Alliant Energy says it cannot guarantee power to people in the flood evacuation zone. It says the grid is better able to handle the flooding outages now than in 2008 to be able to limit outages to areas impacted by flooding. That may include homes around flooding but not directly impacted but it will not be as broad of an area as in 2008. However, Alliant says to plan for losing power and not rely on it as a reason not to evacuate.
MidAmerican Energy is cutting off gas service to more than 2,000 homes by Monday. The company plans to go around after the water recedes to help relight pilot lights and restore gas service.
Police will be patrolling the flood zone to protect homes from looting and other issues. Animal Care and control took in 25 animals Saturday and will be open Sunday to help people with pets who are evacuating. Other area shelters are helping to take in those animals.
The city continues to have three sandbagging locations open 24-hours. The city says it is resupplying but those bags and sand are often running out at sites before new loads arrive.
Public works crews and contractors say it has been easier to get access to areas to install flood protection. The city has asked everyone to continue to stay away from the flood zone unless absolutely necessary and has closed off bridges and some roads downtown to help with that effort.
City Hall staff has been relocated to other offices across the city. The city is anticipating continuing regular city services outside of the flood zone for now. That may change with conditions.