Coe College response to the flood of 2016

Coe floods Cedar Rapids with volunteers

Many Coe students, faculty and staff have mobilized to support flood protection efforts. To view the stories of some of the Kohawks who have volunteered to help the larger Cedar Rapids community, click here.


September 30, 2016
8:30 a.m.

Beginning today, all flood-impacted residents and business people will be allowed back into the evacuation zone for flood recovery activities. At 7 a.m. Saturday, the entire flood zone is being opened to the public. The flood zone curfews have now ended. All bridges across the river will be reopened once the flood protection barriers have been removed.

Once again, thanks to everyone in the Coe community for your pre-flood volunteerism. Director of Community Engagement Kayla Lyftogt will continue to email students, faculty and staff with post-flood volunteer opportunities.


September 27, 2016
9 a.m.

Latest Cedar Rapids flood update
The Cedar River is now forecast to crest at 22 feet sometime this morning, a foot below what was predicted yesterday. The river will then begin to slowly recede this afternoon. Thus far, the temporary flood protection system has been effective, and the city has been spared from serious damage. Members of the Coe community are reminded to stay out of the flood zone and evacuation areas until they are reopened by the city.


September 26, 2016
10:45 a.m.

In response to announcements made by city officials this morning, we have some important information to share regarding the Cedar Rapids flood situation:

It is essential for everyone to stay out of the flood zone and the evacuation area.
As the floodwaters rise in anticipation of a crest early tomorrow morning, public safety is the highest priority at this time. City officials are asking that everyone stay away from the river and outside of the flood zone. In addition, they are asking everyone to stay out of the evacuation areas at all times.

Please click here to view the areas of the city that has been evacuated - the evacuation zone includes everything within the red line on the map.

To view a message from Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, click here.

Please stay out of the flood zone and evacuation areas until the flood has receded and city officials have cleared/reopened each respective area. This could take several days after the floodwaters begin to recede.

Thank you for your cooperation and support of the city during this time. We will continue to keep the Coe community informed, especially in the event that anything changes regarding the flood situation.

For additional information:


September 25, 2016
7 p.m.

  1. Coe will be open and classes will be in session: As a residential college with most of our students living on campus, our plan is to have classes as usual this week. While there have been many volunteer opportunities over the weekend, we are being told that there are no large volunteer opportunities anticipated until the floodwaters recede. We may cancel classes post flood if the city needs our help. Any faculty and staff who are affected by the flood or encounter difficulty getting to Coe because of the flood should be in contact with their supervisors.
  2. A special note for students: If you have been impacted by the flood and you need to be off-campus to help family members or friends, please communicate with your faculty concerning your classes. Faculty will be sensitive to your individual situations and will work with you on assignments, tests, etc.
  3. Thanks for your volunteerism over the past few days: A sincere thank you to all students, faculty and staff who have been volunteering in the community over the past few days. Everyone's commitment to the community that is admirable, as you have shared the Kohawk spirit of service in the flood zone. Director of Community Engagement Kayla Lyftogt has been doing a tremendous job to coordinate the volunteer opportunities for the Coe community. When the floodwaters begin to recede, there will be many additional needs for post-flood volunteers, so please continue to watch for emails from Kayla concerning volunteer opportunities.
  4. We continue to monitor the flood situation and community needs: All indications continue to be that the Coe campus will remain safe and dry during this major flood. As noted above, we will be back in communication with faculty, staff and students regarding post-flood volunteer opportunities.

Finally, please be mindful of the evacuation zone and curfew in effect beginning this evening. As a reminder, the evacuation zone and curfew are in effect for some low-lying areas near the campus, but there is no evacuation or curfew on campus.

Evacuation details: Cedar Rapids officials have ordered mandatory evacuations for residents in low-lying areas of the city. Please click here to view the areas of the city that have been be evacuated - the evacuation zone includes everything within the red line on the map. While the evacuation zone includes some low-lying areas near the Coe campus, no Coe property is included in the mandatory evacuation area.

It is also important to note that all evacuated areas are under a curfew beginning from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day until city officials lift the curfew. The mandatory evacuation zone will be enforced by law enforcement and the Iowa National Guard with checkpoints, so it is essential to stay out of these areas.

Thank you for your cooperation and support of the city during this time. We will continue to keep the Coe community informed, especially in the event that anything changes regarding the flood situation.


September 25, 2016
7:15 a.m.

  • Today, Coe has been asked to take a leadership role by organizing the New Bohemia District sandbagging station, near the New Bo Market. Members of the Coe community will be filling sandbags starting at 9 a.m. this morning, and will continue to work until the sand is gone. Among other groups, the Kohawk football team will be assisting with today's effort.
  • The latest flood forecast is for the Cedar River to crest at 23.5 feet on Tuesday morning. Although the City of Cedar Rapids continues to brace for a major flood, the flood level forecasts have been lowered about two feet from what was originally expected.

September 24, 2016
10 p.m.

We have some important information to share regarding the Cedar Rapids flood situation, as follows:

  1. The Coe campus is expected to remain dry and safe:
    The latest forecasts indicate that the Cedar River will crest at 24.5 feet late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. This is below the previous forecast of 25.3 feet, and considerably below the record of 31.12 feet in 2008. Our expectation is that the floodwaters will not reach the Coe campus.
  2. The Cedar Rapids community is preparing for the flood:
    Kohawk kudos to all students, faculty and staff who have volunteered to help with flood preparation over the past couple of days. Your service to the community is much appreciated.
    As a precautionary measure, all bridges across the Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids have been closed this evening. The Interstate 380 bridge is expected to remain open, as is the Edgewood Road bridge, for those who need to cross the river. If you need to travel by vehicle to the west side of the Cedar River during the next few days, you will likely have to do so by taking the Interstate 380 bridge.
  3. Evacuations of low-lying areas will begin tomorrow:
    Beginning Sunday as a precaution, Cedar Rapids officials have ordered mandatory evacuations for residents in low-lying areas of the city. Please click here to view the areas of the city that will be evacuated - the evacuation zone includes everything within the red line on the map. While the evacuation zone includes some low-lying areas near the Coe campus, no Coe property is included in the mandatory evacuation area.
    It is also important to note that all evacuated areas will be under a curfew beginning Sunday evening, from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day until city officials lift the curfew. The mandatory evacuation zone will be enforced by law enforcement and the Iowa National Guard with checkpoints, so it is essential to stay out of these areas.
    To reiterate, there is no evacuation for the Coe campus, and there will be no curfew on campus.
  4. Expected post-flood protocol:
    Depending on the extent of the flood, Cedar Rapids city officials will inspect streets and properties, and methodically reopen the downtown area and other neighborhoods affected by the flood. This could take several days after the floodwaters begin to subside. If you have any reason to be in the evacuation zone post flood, please check to be sure that the area is cleared.
  5. Questions:
    If you have any questions regarding the flood situation, please contact Rod Pritchard at 319-350-9255. In case of emergency, please contact Coe Security at 319-399-8888.

Thank you for your cooperation and support of the city during this time. We will continue to keep the Coe community informed, especially in the event that anything changes regarding the flood situation.

For additional information:


September 23, 2016 
11 a.m.

Cedar Rapids is currently bracing for another major flood. The latest projections indicate that the Cedar River will crest at 24 feet on Monday evening into Tuesday, which would reach the bottom of the First Avenue bridge deck. While still a major flood, this would be considerably below the crest of 31.12 feet experienced during the catastrophic flood of 2008.

Given the current forecasts, we believe the Coe College campus will not be directly affected by the impending flood, but it will certainly impact our larger community. Thankfully, the entire Cedar Rapids area is much better prepared for a significant flood than was the case in 2008, and everyone has more time to prepare for the crest.

In response, a crisis management team has been created at Coe to monitor the situation closely. We are communicating appropriately with members of the campus community, and we have various contingency plans in place should the flood forecast change. We are prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that we maintain a safe campus environment during this time.

Coe administrators will continue to monitor the situation closely throughout the weekend. If necessary, important information will be communicated to students, faculty and staff through the Coe Emergency Alert System.

Director of Community Engagement Kayla Lyftogt will be sending periodic emails to the campus community with opportunities to volunteer to support the city. Coe students, faculty and staff are encouraged to volunteer to help the Cedar Rapids community prepare for the flood.

A helpful flood preparation website including all of the latest information has been created by the City of Cedar Rapids at: http://www.cedar-rapids.org/alert_detail.php.