Great Lakes
A City of Davenport vehicle gets submerged under water as flood waters from the Mississippi River covers streets, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in downtown Davenport, Iowa. (Photo: Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen)

Temporary barrier fails in Davenport, and the Mississippi River floods downtown in Iowa's 3rd-largest city

Davenport abruptly joined the ranks of Iowa regions ravaged by muddy floodwaters this spring when the Mississippi River rushed into the downtown of the state's third-largest city Tuesday afternoon.

Concern about Mississippi flooding, driven by snowmelt and heavy rain, has been high for weeks, but the danger spiked again this week after easing somewhat earlier in April.

"It was just the one barrier, so we're not expecting the flooding to spread beyond what we're seeing now," Davenport Public Works Director Nicole Gleason told the Associated Press on Tuesday. "That could change with heavy rain."

Gleason said crews and volunteers scrambled Tuesday afternoon to fill sandbags for other downtown businesses looking to keep the floodwaters out of their buildings. No injuries have been reported.

This season has been marked by major flooding disasters across Iowa. Until now, they had been mostly along the Missouri River and Interstate Highway 29 corridor and in spots across northern and north-central Iowa.

Gov. Kim Reynolds pledged to “make any necessary resources available” for eastern Iowa in a statement released Tuesday evening.

“Flooding will likely worsen tomorrow so please remain vigilant, follow directions from local officials and law enforcement, and be prepared to evacuate if necessary,” Reynolds said.

Forecasters predict the Mississippi at the Rock Island, Illinois, Lock and Dam will crest Wednesday afternoon at 22.3 feet, just missing the record crest of 22.63 feet set in July 1993.

The National Weather Service says more than an inch of additional rain will fall by Thursday afternoon.

The failed barrier had held against the tremendous pressure of the rushing river waters since mid-March, said Kurt Allemeier, Davenport city spokesman.

► Previously: Flash flood emergency in downtown Davenport as barrier is threatened, weather service says

“Our city engineer said they had never had to withstand waters that tall for that long,” Allemeier said.

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