Charles City Prepares for Cedar River Flood


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CHARLES CITY, IA – The Cedar River is expected to crest by midnight tonight and officials in Charles City say, they’re prepared for the worst. The city has learned valuable lessons from the floods in 2004 and 2008 that they are putting into place.

Several houses that were flood prone have been bought out by FEMA after the ’08 flood meaning officials anticipate fewer residences will be affected.

“We’re hoping that very few residences will be affected by this flood and we’re hoping that it’s more of a nuisance than anything. But we’re prepared for the worst hoping for the best,” says Fire Chief Eric Whipple.

The Charles City Fire Department has been making code red calls encourage folks who live near the river to keep an eye on the levels.

As the Cedar River levels continue to rise, residence of the Charles City area continue to do what needs to be done to prepare for a flood.

“The real key to Charles City is, ‘99, 2004, 2008…the city prepares,” says Michael Downey.

For nearly two decades Downey has called Charles City home. Over the past 20 years, he’s seen his fair share of flooding.

“If it wasn’t for the city preparing for it then I’d be concerned about it,” explains Downey.

Even though The Cedar River is expected to crest at midnight, Downey isn’t too concerned. That’s because residents and business owners have learned a lot from previous floods. Like in 2008, when water levels reached 24-feet.

The owner of a local shop right on the river’s banks remembers that flood all too well.

“We had it all through the showroom and in the green house and everything,” says Lori Otto, Owner of Otto’s Oasis.

While they’re keeping their fingers crossed for the best, they’re also preparing for the worst.

“Right now we’re just moving our trees and shrubs, everything that’s lower in the lower green houses, because that’s in the danger zone right now,” adds Otto.

As the waters continue to rise, the city continues to prepare. But one thing they’re not doing is panicking.

“If you want to know if there’s a panic in Charles City, go to Roma’s coffee shop and sit around there for an hour if those people aren’t panicked, the city’s not panicked, so pretty safe then.”

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