Cedar County, Iowa, prepares to deal with major flooding


They're racing the clock in Cedar County on Friday.

That's where the Lemburg family is on the move.

"Let's hope the river doesn't get as high as they're claiming," said John Dornfeld, between loads of furniture and appliances.

The Cedar River is expected to crest near Tipton on Tuesday, September 27.  Projected to top 24 feet, it would double the normal flood stage.

That means a lot of heavy lifting before streets close.

"We're taking everything you don't want inundated with water out of the lower level of the house," Dornfeld said.

At the ironically-named Water Street, Cedar County braces for its seventh worst flood.

"Most of them are picking up furniture and moving to someone else's house," said Tim Malott, director of emergency management in Cedar County.

But after torrential rains to the north, the county is getting advance warning and acting now to minimize impact.

"We just are really looking out for these folks to make sure that we're projecting high enough levels that we're not under-preparing," said Dawn Smith, chair of the Cedar County Board of Supervisors.

While the river remains calm in the short term, it will be rising rapidly.  Families are grateful to be able to protect their belongings.

"Just getting everything out of here," said Tyler Rozinek, Cedar Bluff.  "Absolutely everything."

Rozinek knows all too well about the river's wrath and beauty while clearing out his weekend retreat.

"When that water comes up, it brings mud and silt," he continued.  "It takes forever to get rid of it."

With major flooding on the way, it's about risk and reward.

"We added that addition this winter," said Dornfeld.  "Here we are, worried about being wall-to-wall water."

Load-by-load, planning for the worst while hoping for the best.

"It's second nature to all of us around here," Rozinek concluded.  "We all pitch in and help each other. We get through it."