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As Cedar River Rises, Cedar Rapids Residents Hope Flood Barriers Hold

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Residents of Iowa's second-largest city hope that a temporary floodwall protecting thousands of homes and downtown buildings will hold Tuesday as the rain-swollen Cedar River crests.

The river was expected to peak in Cedar Rapids at 22.1 feet, a foot lower than initially projected but still 10 feet above flood stage. That figure is considered major flooding, though it's 9 feet below the record crest in 2008 that caused devastating flooding in the city.

"We're happy to see it come down, and we're still evaluating what that means," city spokeswoman Sara Baughman said. "It's still going to hold at the crest for several hours, but we're cautiously optimistic."

City crews and residents stacked sandbags and built larger barriers in anticipation of the high water, which followed days of heavy rain in northern Iowa. The temporary flood protection system was holding the river at bay Tuesday morning, Baughman said.

"We have some minor roadway flooding from storm sewer infiltration, and those areas are being pumped," she said.

Schools have been canceled through Thursday. Thousands of residents have heeded a voluntary evacuation order, leaving downtown and some neighborhoods feeling like ghost towns.

There have been no incidents of looting or other problems in the evacuation zone, Baughman said.

"It's actually been a real quiet night," she said Tuesday morning.

The National Weather Service expected the river to return below flood stage by Monday.

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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