Wanda and Richard Peve stared Sunday at the lake that had formed in their neighborhood at the Falcon Farms mobile home park southeast of Rapids City, Ill.
Just a day earlier, they could see their driveway and sidewalk.
The Peves were among hundreds of Quad-Citians who waited out the flood Sunday as the Rock and Mississippi rivers crested.
While the Rock crested Sunday afternoon at a record 16.5 feet at Moline, residents of Barstow and Port Byron who stayed in their homes watched river waters rise in their yards and driveways while their neighbors found temporary shelter with family and friends.
The Rock River will remain at its historic crest today, said Andy Ervin, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Davenport.
“This is the worst flooding the Rock River has ever seen in the Moline area,” Ervin said. “We expect it to remain at that level through mid-to-late evening, and then start to fall at that point,” which will be a total of 36 hours around the record crest level. The previous Rock record was 16.38 feet set March 6, 2008, which was an ice jam, Ervin said.
Although the Rock River may go up a fraction of an inch to an inch, “it will be in general holding at that level another 24 hours before falling,” Ervin said Sunday night.
Upstream at Joslin, the Rock crested Sunday at 19.14 feet, he said, adding this is the second-highest reported at that site. The record is 19.24 feet set June 7, 2002, “and we’re only an inch and a half from that level right now,” he said.
The Mississippi River also crested Sunday at 19.13 feet in Rock Island. The river held the crest since noon Sunday through Sunday night, and should remain around that level today before starting a steady fall, Ervin said.
The Mississippi will remain at flood stage for the next week, he said.
“At this point we’re expecting it to still be at flood stage at 15.4 feet on the 29th of April, which is still about a half foot above flood stage. It’s going to take quite a while before we can see the grass in LeClaire Park again,” Ervin said.
More rain is on the way, but it shouldn’t add to the floodwaters, he said.
Mike Clarke, public works director for the City of Davenport, said, “The flood is not penetrating any of our protections at any locations.
“We’re now in maintenance mode,” he said. “We’re watching. We have folks out there 24/7 keeping an eye on how well our protection is performing.”
The city’s flood protection plan is “sophisticated” and has been tested over time, he said.
Eventually, “without a lot of fanfare, things will be back to normal,” Clarke said.
For families like the Peves, though, it may take awhile.
“My grass was so nice and green,” sighed Wanda Peve, who lives in unit 40 with her husband, Richard. Both wore boots while they squished around what lawn wasn’t covered by water.
The family is not insured against water damage, she said. “When we moved out here we didn’t think we’ve have to ask for flood insurance.” She added that she does not plan to leave her home “unless it’s dangerous and the power goes out."
“We’re luckier than most people who have their basements ruined,” she said. “And at least we can get out.”
The car of one neighbor, who left his dwelling, was parked crossways in his driveway. Another neighbor, Wilma Lucia, who lives in Unit 55, waved to her father, Fernando Rios, of East Moline, whose jeans were soaked above his ankles after he had visited her. “I can go behind the houses” to reach her home, he said. “(The ground is) a little higher there.”
“(Sunday) morning, she called,” he said. “Her car is partially submerged.” His daughter, Rios said, has multiple sclerosis and takes prescriptions, and “has all the refills she needs for a few days.”
Residents gathered together in lawn chairs, or simply to talk to their neighbors about what was going on and whether the Mississippi River had crested. Gail Head, who has lived nine years in the community, watched the proceedings from a white metal lawn chair just inside her car port. “I’ve never seen (the water) this high,” she said.
On Saturday morning, “I really didn’t pay much attention to it,” she said. “Then about 11, I noticed the water was over the road. It went up fast.”
Linda Lewis, who lives in Unit 159, said her tap water “smells like sulphur. I was doing some laundry and (the smell) was gagging me. The water smells horrible.”
Meanwhile, Jerry Shirk, director of the Rock Island County Emergency Management Agency, or EMA, said his agency on Sunday assisted other agencies in the Barstow area. The EMA’s focus, “for the flood fight, is to assist (other) public entities.” Shirk said. “(Sunday) we’re assisting Barstow − they’re trying to protect the fire station as well as the access roads into Barstow.
“Their flood fight failed,” Shirk said. “They did everything they could to protect the infrastructure, but the current washed away what they were trying to do.”
Access roads to Barstow were underwater Sunday, he said. “Barstow is trying to get the people via long boats – jonboats,” he said.
Many residents of Barstow and Falcon Farms chose to stay even though they were encouraged to evacuate, he said.
The American Red Cross of the Quad-Cities Area assisted those affected by the flood with a shelter at Eagle Ridge School, Silvis.
Kasey Kelly, regional communications manager with the Red Cross, said firefighters notified the agency Sunday afternoon about the evacuation of Falcon Farms on the Mississippi River and the East Lawn Addition near Barstow Road near the Rock River.
Pat D’Alessandro, of LeClaire, volunteer with the Red Cross, helped Sunday at the shelter, where six people stopped in. “We haven’t had anybody stay the night,” she said Sunday evening. “We had a number of people come in with pets, and we don’t take pets, so they found shelter elsewhere.”