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6/11/2008

Cedar River flooding will be ‘historic event’

Iowa, USA
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Richard Campbell of Cedar Rapids carries a pepper plant he rescued from his and his wife Barbara's garden at the Ellis Park community garden plots Monday in northwest Cedar Rapids. The couple pulled their tomato, pepper, watermelon and cucumber plants from their swamped plot. They also pulled out some radishes. Rising water of the Cedar River already has swamped many other gardens.
Jeff Zogg, hydrologist at the National Weather Service office in Davenport, said one word, more than any other, describes what is happening now on the Cedar River — “historic.”

At 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Zogg said the National Weather Service just bumped up its crest prediction for the Cedar River at Cedar Rapids from 21.2 feet to 22 feet.
The record crest in Cedar Rapids is 20 feet. The significant flood of 1993 only sent the river to 19.27 feet.

“Feel free to use this in your story,” Zogg said. “This is a historic event. These are river stages we’ve never seen before.”

Zogg said predicting the coming river crests was “extremely challenging” because the stages at some points along the river now are ones never observed before.
“We don’t know exactly what will happen when water gets that high,” he said. “We don’t know for sure, and nobody knows for sure.”
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