Communities along the Cedar River in Iowa are bracing for some of the highest water levels in nearly a decade following excessive rainfall across the region last week.
Water levels along the Cedar River have reached major flood stage in cities such as Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Vinton, Iowa, and will remain in flood stage for the next several days before receding.
Schools in Cedar Rapids have been canceled through Thursday and thousands of residents have received voluntary evacuation orders, according to the Associated Press. People in the city have also used over 250,000 sandbags to help protect buildings from rising flood waters.
The flooding has been a result of excessive rainfall that fell across the region last week, with some areas experiencing more than a month's worth of rain in just a few days.
"Mainly dry weather through early next week will allow the flood waters to gradually subside," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Andy Mussoline
Residents and officials in Cedar Rapids placed barriers along the banks of the river, as well as thousands of sandbags around the city in preparation for the rising river levels.
The Cedar River is expected to crest around 22 feet before slowly receding throughout the rest of the week. This would be the second-highest river crest on record for the Cedar River at Cedar Rapids, with the all-time record being 31 feet set on June 13, 2008.
Farther upstream, water levels have already begun to drop, including in Waterloo and Cedar Falls, but remain at flood levels.
These cities experienced the worst of the flooding over the past weekend when the Cedar River swelled beyond its banks, shutting down roads and forcing evacuations along the river.
Flood waters from last week's excessive rainfall also lead to to two fatalities and millions of dollars of damage to roads in bridges in Wisconsin, the AP reported.
Flooding on the Cedar River in Waterloo, Iowa. pic.twitter.com/Tk1qNFatcm— Dennis Michael Lowe (@DennisLowe613) September 25, 2016
Some flooded homes along the West Fork Cedar River near Janesville, IA @LiveStormsMedia pic.twitter.com/px7kVi65TK— Brian Emfinger (@brianemfinger) September 24, 2016
The Cedar River is pretty dang high in Waterloo (but flooding is way worse in other places)! pic.twitter.com/Vi92STn2Ye— Ryan Veeder (@rcveeder) September 26, 2016