The day before the crest

2013-04-20T15:23:00Z 2013-04-20T21:27:07Z The day before the crestBy Ed Tibbetts etibbetts@qctimes.com The Quad-City Times

Along North Shore Drive in Moline, Saturday was a day for checking forecasts and water levels.

Exactly how high will the Rock River's crest be? And what’s the water level now?

For Jeff Elsbury, every inch counts.

“I’ve lived here since 1984, and I’ve only been flooded once,” said the man who lives on the north side of North Shore Drive west of 16th Street. That was five years ago, when an ice jam pushed the Rock River up — and in Elsbury’s case — 27 inches into his home.

He was hoping there wouldn't be a repeat this time.

The National Weather Service was predicting the Rock would crest at 16.3 feet today, 4.3 feet above flood stage and a tenth of a foot short of a record. By midday Saturday, it was at 15.9 feet, according to the weather service's web page.

Like others, Elsbury was getting ready. He’d moved furniture, appliances and other items at his house on the north side of North Shore Drive. He also had four pumps and one in reserve.

On the south side of North Shore Drive, where waters had already surrounded and invaded many homes, Kevin Kemmann was getting ready to leave in his car.

“We sandbagged all day yesterday, but I don’t know if it was worth it,” he says. He worries the floodwaters will rise too high and inundate his mother’s house, which is next door to his.

“I’ve never seen it this high,” he said.

Barriers hold back water in downtown Davenport

For somebody unaccustomed to Davenport's floods, the Hesco barriers that line River Drive to hold back the Mississippi River can be quite a sight.

That was the case with Lee Zettler, a Wisconsin native who moved to Davenport a month ago.

Saturday afternoon, Zettler was taking pictures of the barriers and taking it all in as he walked on the dry side of the wall. “It looks like a war zone,” he said.

Perhaps, but that didn't keep people from visiting nearby businesses, which were open and taking customers.

Farmers market customers navigate closed roads

There were fewer parking places, but shoppers made their way around barriers to go to the Freight House Farmers Market, although there may have been fewer of them than normal.

Some merchants said they saw a difference this Saturday. "We have a smaller crowd than normal," said Dawn Dykema, the owner of Blossom Farms.

Alexa Coobs, of Allens Grove Greenhouse, said once people "figured out the roads" they made it through to the market in downtown Davenport. In fact, she said, "it was a better turnout than I thought it would be."

The bridge to baseball

The bridge to Modern Woodmen Stadium in Davenport was operational Saturday. St. Ambrose University's baseball team was on the field, while a reception was taking place.

Otherwise, the city's flood-fighting operation was in a maintenance mode, officials said. Mike Clarke, the city's public works director, said the Mississippi River had risen a foot overnight, but that pumps and barriers were working as intended.

"We're just waiting for the crest," he said.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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