As the waters of the Mississippi and Rock rivers continued to rise Friday, residents and businesses along the rivers were as prepared as they could be for the crests that are expected Sunday. 

Justin Watson, 30, moved into the house he is renting on Moline's South Shore Drive in February.

"I knew it flooded sometimes," he said Friday afternoon as he took his kayak out of the back of his pickup truck. "I just wasn't expecting it so soon."

Wearing rubber waders, he began walking to his home while pulling his kayak through the water. Watson said he can paddle it if he needs.

"My house is up high," Watson said. "It's just the garage area downstairs. So I"m staying at home." 

The Rock River at Moline is expected to crest at a near record level of 16.3 feet about midday Sunday, said meteorologist Linda Engebretson of the National Weather Service, Davenport. The record set in 2008 is 16.38 feet. 

At 6:30 p.m. Friday, the Rock River at Moline stood at 14.8 feet. 

Engebretson said a levee breach on the Green River north of Atkinson, Ill., on Thursday afternoon slowed the rising of the Rock River, but it would not stop the crest from reaching a near-record level. 

"There's still an awful lot of water," she said. 

Bob Early, 68, has been living on the Rock River since 1987.

"The flood of 2008, when we had the ice jam and the record flood, that was the only I had water in the house," Early said Friday.

Although Early said he can still walk around some areas of his yard, and water is not in his house, "I'm staying in a hotel tonight. When you get older, it just gets tougher to deal with."

So with his dog Maxie by his side, Early drove away.

The Mississippi River at Lock and Dam 15, Rock Island, is expected to crest at 19.7 feet Sunday evening, Engebretson said. That is good news since the original crest forecast was for 20.2 feet, she added.

The flooding Mississippi River is taking a toll in many ways, from inundating homes, to slowing sales at nearby businesses. 

In Davenport, a couple sat at a table of Farm Fresh Deli on Friday afternoon as Ed Kraklio gestured at the floor-to-ceiling windows.

In the parking lot of Davenport's Freight House, gawkers watched the Mississippi River ease into LeClaire Park. Pelicans paddled nearby as large trees floated by. 

"People have been driving through, taking pictures," Kraklio said. "Come on in, support local businesses."

The flood hasn't been good for business at Kraklio's restaurant, especially since the city closed River Drive. He's been assured floodwaters won't reach the Freighthouse parking lot, but he needs customers to reach the parking lot.

"I warned employees they might work short shifts," he said. "Down here everyone thinks it's closed. That will hurt us, Front Street, the food hub and the farmer's market."

The Freight House is accessible from Ripley Street despite barricades and "road closed" signs.

This time around, Davenport's flood fight wasn't one for the masses.

The city didn't put out a call for volunteers to fill sandbags, instead relying on city workers and three sandbag-making machines. The machines, with four people, can make as many sandbags as 10 people in an hour.

"We’ve gotten so good at what we do we don’t need a whole lot of help anymore," Public Works Director Mike Clarke said Friday. "Not that we don’t like the public to lend a hand."

The city produced about 40,000 sandbags, Clarke said. Fewer are needed as flood protection at Credit Island, at Union Station and on River Drive uses Hesco barriers. Modern Woodmen Park has permanent flood protection that only needs installation.

Not putting out a call for help caught some city officials off guard.

"It raised a few eyebrows among the staff because we have asked the public for help in so many events but that we have gone beyond that," Clarke. "With the aid of technology , we get better."

While today's forecast calls for sunny skies and a high in the upper 40s to lower 50s, a new round of storms is on the way, Engebretson said. 

"Sunday's rain chances are very slim," she said. However, there is a greater chance of rain Monday and Tuesday. 

"We'll have one wave come in Monday and another on Tuesday," Engebretson said. "But they will be quick moving and we're expecting less than an inch of rain from each of the systems.

"We're not going to be sitting here with a system churning over us for three or four days," she said. 

"What falls Monday and Tuesday will slow the rivers going down," Engebretson said. "But it's too early to quantify the effects of those two systems."

(1) comment

iowalittledog

You know it's bad when they have to close the casino or the legal crack house

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