Residents evacuate areas of Cedar Rapids, IA ahead of flooding

The tops of mailboxes barely break the surface of floodwaters from the Cedar River in the North Cedar neighborhood of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (Brandon Pollock/The Courier via AP)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Residents are leaving low-lying areas of Iowa’s second-largest city, Cedar Rapids, that are in danger of flooding from the rising Cedar River.

The river crested Saturday night in Waterloo and Cedar Falls, which are about 55 miles upstream from Cedar Rapids. Water levels in those two cities were slightly lower than had been expected, but they still reached levels that were second only to the 2008 flood that devastated the region.

The National Weather Service predicts the river will reach a crest of 23.5 feet in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday morning. Officials have asked those in downtown areas of the city near the river to leave by 8 p.m. Sunday. They expect it could be a week before people will be able to return home.

Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz says the city has been preparing to deal with a major flood since the 2008 flood, and that these preparations should help.

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