CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The Latest on flooding along rain-swollen rivers in Iowa (all times local):
About 100 homes in low-lying areas of the small Linn County town of Palo along the Cedar River have been evacuated.
City Clerk Trisca Dix tells The Associated Press that the mandatory evacuation in the town of about 1,000 took place Saturday afternoon before the river was expected to crest Sunday night at 24.5 feet.
Mayor Tom Yock told the Des Moines Register that volunteers and work crews scrambled Saturday to protect as much of the town from flooding as possible.
Yock said the town, which was devastated by record flooding in 2008, is trying to be more proactive this time around.
He says many people moved their belongings to the upper levels of their homes and built sandbag barriers before evacuating.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and several other state leaders on Saturday toured flood damage in Clarkesville and Shell Rock and assessed flood preparedness plans underway in Cedar Rapids.
Branstad was joined by Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Tim Orr and Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Mark Schouten.
Branstad and Reynolds also expect to assess flood damage next week.
On Friday, Branstad signed a disaster proclamation for 13 northeast Iowa counties affected by flooding. It activates the Iowa National Guard to assist in preparedness and in response when there’s damage.
Cedar Rapids officials are asking curious residents to stay out of downtown and flooded areas.
City Manager Jeff Pomeranz said Saturday that people wanting to get a glimpse of rising Cedar River have been getting in the way of workers trying to protect property.
Pomeranz says heavy equipment brought in to build earthen dams and erect flood barriers was hindered Friday because of heavy traffic from gawkers.
Officials also don’t want traffic from onlookers clogging streets for those trying to evacuate areas around the river before it’s expected to crest on Tuesday.
Officials have lowered their estimate of where the swollen Cedar River will crest in Cedar Rapids, but they are still asking people to stay out of the Iowa city’s downtown on Sunday night.
City Manager Jeff Pomeranz said Saturday at a news conference that the river is expected to crest at 24.5 feet on Tuesday, which is nearly a foot below the earlier expected crest of 25.3 feet.
Downtown Cedar Rapids is still expected to see flooding that will affect an estimated 1,500 properties.
Fire Chief Mark English asked those living in an area outlined on a flood map posted on the city’s website to evacuate their homes by 8 p.m. Sunday. A curfew will be in place from then until 7 a.m. Monday.
Police chief Wayne Jerman says 73 checkpoints will be set up to ensure that residents and their properties remain safe.
This item has been corrected to reflect that it’s the Cedar River, not the Mississippi River, that is threatening to flood Cedar Rapids.
Iowa officials are pleading for volunteers to help fill sandbags and scrambling to erect earthen dams and berms to stave off flooding.
Cedar Falls officials issued calls Friday night and Saturday morning for volunteers, ahead of heavy rains forecast for Saturday night. Volunteers have been asked to bring work gloves, appropriate footwear and shovels.
Flooding has already forced road closures and evacuations in several communities upstream.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the area, including Waterloo, Waverly, Hampton and Eagle Grove in Iowa. While sunny skies were expected for much of Saturday, the weather service says storms Saturday night into Sunday are expected to bring more heavy rain to the area.
This item has been corrected to remove reference to the Mississippi River, which is not near Cedar Falls. It is the Cedar River that flows through the city.