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Flood preparation
City of Davenport Public Works Director Mike Clarke, left, and chief construction inspector Blaine Flack Jr. discuss flood preparations around Modern Woodmen Park during a flood planning session Wednesday at the public works offices. (Larry Fisher/QUAD-CITY TIMES)

Preparations are under way for a much worse flood than what actually is expected next week along the Mississippi River in Davenport.

Public Works Director Mike Clarke activated the city's emergency flood center after South Concord Street and Enchanted Island began seeing moderate flooding earlier this week.

Barricades and signs will be put up in affected areas as the river continues to rise today and Friday.

The Mississippi was at 13.64 feet Wednesday afternoon at Lock & Dam 15, according to National Weather Service data. It is expected to crest April 2 at 14.6 feet, just shy of the 15-foot flood stage.

Clarke toured Modern Woodmen Park on Wednesday and said the city will install a flood wall along the southwest side of the field, which has been hit the worst by flooding in the past. The wall usually is put up when the river reaches 18 feet.

"We are all over this flood like sunshine on a happy day," Clarke said.

Clarke said the city has learned from past floods and is preparing for water to rise to the 16-foot to 18-foot range.

"Floods can be very sneaky," he said, referring to the 2008 flood, when the Mississippi River crested 2 feet higher than predicted.

Clarke doesn't believe the river will climb to 15 feet or higher in the next week or so.

"We're just not seeing the snow pack up north," he said.

Among Quad-City communities on the Mississippi, Davenport sees the greatest impact from high water because it lacks floodwalls that protect other cities.

A portion of South Concord Street is closed to traffic, except for residents. The city is supplying residents with sand for sandbagging, and garbage collection will continue, Clarke said.

Wednesday afternoon, floodwaters covered South Concord in at least two places along a stretch from West River Drive to just past Miller Avenue, near the Davenport Compost Facility.

Bill Vanover lives just off South Concord on Wapello Avenue. He said the sump pump in his basement is useless when the Mississippi rises to 15 feet.

"The sump pump starts working like crazy," he said. "I just shut it off, take everything out of the basement, and let it fill up."

Also at 15 feet, Wapello Avenue gets flooded over at Nahant Marsh, Vanover said, leaving him practically on an island.

"I park up the road, put my waders on and walk," he said. "People have got to expect that, living on a river."

Crystal Smith remembered wading through water to get medicine for her grandmother when the Mississippi flooded in 2008.

"We just see it coming," she said of the rising river level. In 2008, high water surrounded her home on Wapello on three sides.

"It's not very pleasant," she said.


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