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2019 flood is highest, longest ever in the Quad-Cities

2019 flood is highest, longest ever in the Quad-Cities

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The Mississippi River rose to a record crest of 22.64 feet at 11:50 a.m. on Thursday, vaulting this year's flood to the highest and longest ever recorded in Rock Island.

The crest is expected to top out at 22.7 feet sometime Friday, but that may not be the end of it, as up to four inches of rain is in the forecast for next week.

The previous flood crest was 22.63 feet set in 1993, followed by 22.48 set in 1965.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is expected to visit Davenport on Friday to survey the flooding that has closed dozens of businesses, forced long detours from both U.S. 67/River Drive and 2nd Street, sealed access to the Government Bridge and caused the city's water pollution control plant to divert sanitary sewer water into the Mississippi River.

It also has shut down the Canadian Pacific Railroad, despite the railroad's raising of tracks through the downtown.

Downstream, Buffalo also has been hard-hit.

Davenport has come to rely on a system of pumps and HESCO barriers for flood protection, and on Tuesday afternoon, a barrier failed at 2nd Street and Pershing Avenue, causing flash flooding and raising questions about how the remaining barriers will hold up as the flood continues.

As of Friday, the river will have been at major flood stage, or 18 feet, for 41 consecutive days, surpassing the 31-day record set in 2001. 

While the HESCO barriers have never been up this long, in water this high, Nicole Gleason, public works director, said there are instances of HESCO barriers being in place for years.

What is unknown is what is happening under the barriers, she said. Water can come bubbling up from under streets, undermining barriers from below.

At present, it is not feasible to try to reinforce the barriers, she said, adding that her staff is constantly monitoring the temporary flood protection and "no one's expressed any concern with what's currently in place."

Two areas of concern — the Village of East Davenport and the residential Garden Addition — are holding steady, she said.

She added, though, that "there's no way to predict" what will happen.

Weather forecast: Through the weekend, there is no rain in the forecast, but Gleason said she will meet later Friday with the National Weather Service to plan for a "worst case scenario" for the coming week.

Meterologists say a developing front could dump up to 1.5 inches per day for three days in a row, for a total of four inches, she said.

At this point, the ground is so saturated that any rain will immediately run off and head for the Mississippi.

Possible disaster declaration: In response to the flooding, Scott County Emergency Management Agency officials are compiling a request for a formal disaster declaration from the federal government.

Reynolds said Thursday that President Trump's disaster declaration for western Iowa (where major flooding occurred in March) is still open, and that perhaps eastern Iowa could be added to that, rather than making an entirely new request.

Businesses closed: All up and down the riverfront, businesses were closed — from long-running institutions such as the U.S. Post Office, Hahn Ready-Mix and Major Art & Hobby Center to brand-new businesses that are part of the revitalization of downtown, such as Abernathy's Crafted QC, Barrel House and Bucktown.

At least two businesses, including The Half Nelson restaurant, were planning to open next week.

The outside Freight House Farmers Market is having to relocate for the foreseeable future to the Scott County Administration Building, while the Quad-Cities River Bandits have been able to play only one game in Modern Woodmen Park.

A collection of all our photos, videos from the Flood of 2019

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Video from the Roam Restaurant and Bar in downtown Davenport shows the moment a HESCO barrier failed sending floodwaters from the Mississippi …

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Ryan Lincoln maneuvers his jon boat through flood waters while taking volunteers to businesses on E 2nd St. in downtown Davenport Thursday, May 2.

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Members of the US Coast Guard from the Rock Island Arsenal deploy boats into flood water at the intersection of Pershing Ave and E 2nd St. Wed…


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