By Sunday morning, the Mississippi River will be above flood stage at Lock and Dam 15 and rising into Davenport’s LeClaire Park.
The fast-rising water sent Davenport public works crews scrambling to prepare Saturday with staff working 12-hour shifts to build berms at Modern Woodmen Park, Union Station and along River Drive. The city opened its emergency operations center Friday night.
The flooding has forced Sunday’s Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Fest performances scheduled for LeClaire Park in Davenport to move to the Clarion Hotel, 5202 Brady St., Davenport. The performances are scheduled from noon to 4:45 p.m.
Other cities were preparing for flooding, too. Bettendorf was sandbagging, and Rock Island was putting up temporary floodwalls.
According to Saturday predictions, the river is expected to crest Tuesday evening at 18.5 feet, which is categorized as a major flood, National Weather Service meteorologist Donna Dubberke said. It is expected to start receding after about 12 hours.
In Davenport, River Drive was closed from Rockingham Road to Oneida Avenue on Saturday, and city officials encouraged sightseers to stay away from flood-waters.
Mike Clarke, Davenport public works director, said this flood is unique because the water is coming up so fast and forcing the city to forgo some flood preparations it would normally take, including protecting Credit Island and South Concord Street.
“The velocity is what has us concerned,” he said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Philip said the river level is rising fast due to heavy rains to the north.
At 18.5 feet, water surrounds Modern Woodmen Park, affects sections of River Drive in downtown Davenport and 2nd Street at Iowa. Most of LeClaire Park is under water and it affects Credit Island.
If it were to rise to 20 feet, the river reaches field level at the ball park, the parking lot at The River's Edge and the parking lot at the Quad-City Times, Philip said. At that level, the river also would affect buildings at Sunset Marina in Rock Island and close River Drive in Moline from the 2300 to 5500 block, Philip said.
In order to prepare, Davenport police had some vehicles towed that were parked south of River Drive Saturday. Clarke said the vehicle owners will not face fines and that the towing was necessary to protect the vehicles and allow workers to start building the berms.
Clarke said preparing for the flood while the Quad-City Times Bix 7 was under way Saturday made things difficult, but most race participants and spectators had cleared out by late morning, allowing workers to get started.
In Rock Island, the public works department put up temporary floodwalls at RiverStone Group Inc.’s barge terminal and was ready to put up temporary floodwalls at Schwiebert Riverfront Park, which opened earlier this month.
Rock Island Public Works Director Robert Hawes said it will be the first time the floodwalls are used outside of practice. The city was also closing some floodgates and using pumps in eight places.
Hawes said the lower road at Sunset Marina was closed Saturday and the main road will likely be closed today. He said the marina was still without power Saturday due to Friday’s storms.
Some portions of Rock Island’s bike path along the river will also be closed due to flooding, he added.
Davenport is seeking volunteers to help fill sandbags. Work will be done from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the public works building, 1200 E. 46th St.
Davenport residents needing emergency assistance can call the city’s operations center, which is open 24 hours a day, at (563) 327-5120.
Other area rivers are rising as well. The Maquoketa River was at 27.89 feet at 6:15 p.m. Saturday. Initial forecasts have the Maquoketa River cresting at 34.8 feet tonight. However, the Maquoketa River is rising more slowly than expected, so it may crest sooner and lower than originally forecast, according to the National Weather Service, Davenport. The Wapsipinicon River also is expected to hit 13 feet, 2 feet above flood stage, at DeWitt. The Rock River in Moline is expected to crest at 14 feet at about 6 p.m. Tuesday, while at Joslin, the Rock is expected to crest at 17 feet early Tuesday.
North of the Quad-Cities, flooding also was reported on the Plum and Apple rivers near Savanna, Ill., where some homes were evacuated.