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Officials: No location in Cedar Rapids is untouched by storm damage

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SW of CR

Lucienne Wells. Building damage SW of Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa. (KWWL) - Emergency crews in Cedar Rapids are continuing to respond to widespread damage reports of significant tree and building damage.

Priorities right now include safety issues, such as addressing injuries and gas line breaks, assessing damaged buildings, clearing roadways and finding housing and essential services for those displaced.

Cedar Rapids Public Safety says no place in the city was untouched by Monday's severe weather. They received 1,900 9-1-1 calls and 2,200 non-emergency calls.

The City's Incident Command Team is operational and includes a multi-department response comprised of Fire, Police, Public Works, Forestry, Utilities, Building Services, and many others.

While emergency response efforts are underway, the City continues to work on issuing public service announcements and additional critical information under widespread conditions of power outages, cell service loss, and loss of internet access.

The City says to only call 9-1-1 for life-threatening situations that require immediate response of public safety personnel.

Road Clearing

Public Works crews are responding to widespread damage and blocked or partially blocked roads. Crews are using plows and other equipment to help move debris off the roadway. The roads are being cleared in a prioritized route similar to emergency snow response – main arterials that connect major sections of the city will be addressed first, and then crews will begin moving into collector streets and residential neighborhoods. There are still many unsafe situations with debris blocking roads and utility lines down. Please use caution if you need to go out – drive slowly, yield at partial closures. Please do not drive through barricades, they are in place for life safety reasons.  If possible, please stay home or remove cars parked on the roadway to assist crews with clearing roads.

Traffic Signals & Signs

We have sustained heavy damage to many traffic signals, which are down, turned, damaged, or without power. Many signals are dark or operating on generators. Many intersections are also missing stop signs. As you approach intersections – be aware signals may be down and signs may be missing. Treat intersections as all-way stops. Stop completely at the intersection and proceed with caution when it is your turn. Traffic Engineering crews continue to dispatch additional generators and assess damage.

Tree Debris & Removal

The first priority for crews will be to open roads to traffic and remove hazardous trees or hanging limbs. City crews are temporarily placing tree limbs and debris in the public right-of-way (area generally between the street and the sidewalk) to help open roads.

When possible, keep debris out of the streets and off of sidewalks. Only stack debris in the area between the street and sidewalk, or behind the curb and/or sidewalk. Stack non-tree debris in separate, distinct piles. Do not mix tree debris with other rubble, such as glass, shingles, gutters, etc. Keep alleys clear of debris – only use the street right-of-way for debris collection. If possible, cut branches into sections no larger than 10 feet in length. Trunks of large diameters should be halved or quartered into smaller sections until they are able to be easily moved. Additional information related to tree removal and debris pickup will be issued as it becomes available. 

Garbage, Recycling, and Yard Waste

There will be no garbage, recycling, or yard waste collection on Tuesday, August 11. Sanitation crews have been redeployed to assist Public Works and Forestry crews with debris removal. Plans to restore collection services will be announced at a future date, pending debris removal. When collection resumes, garbage carts will be prioritized. City staff continue to work on plans for public debris removal.

Parks and Recreation Update

Twin Pines, Ellis, and Gardner Golf Courses are closed.

The Rollin’ Recmobile stops and school supplies distribution has been suspended and is tentatively scheduled to begin again Tuesday, August 18 with its normal schedule.

Drinking Water

Cedar Rapids water remains safe to consume. Please contact customer service at 319-286-5900 if you see water bubbling in the street due to a water main break.

Transit Reminder

Transit service is suspended through Wednesday, August 12.

Curfew Still in Effect

A citywide curfew is in effect from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and continuing until further notice. Police officers will be patrolling neighborhoods. We are asking for residents to stay at home for their safety so streets can be cleared of debris and fallen utilities.