Iowa flooding: Temporary barrier fails in Davenport

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Iowa flooding: Temporary barrier fails in Davenport.

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.

The HESCO barriers holding back floodwaters from the river failed, local media reported, spilling fast-moving waters into the eastern Iowa city with a population of 100,000. The inundation was so sudden that emergency responders had to rescue people from buildings.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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