Temporary flood protection in downtown Davenport fails

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KCRG) - Temporary flood protection measures have failed in downtown Davenport leading to inundation of previously dry areas near the Mississippi River, according to emergency managers and the Quad Cities National Weather Service.

Davenport Fire Department crews conduct water emergency operations along Second Street between Pershing Avenue and Iowa Street in downtown Davenport on April 30, 2019 (Credit: ABC/Karoline Williams)

Officials reported a failure in the HESCO barrier, a type of sand-filled temporary flood wall, near the intersection of Second Street and Pershing Avenue.

At 4:37 p.m., emergency management described the area of inundation as along a five-block stretch of Second Street from Ripley Street to Pershing Avenue. People were rescued off of a roof of at least one building, and Arsenal Bridge has been closed.

The Weather Service also reported stranded cars and water rescues underway in the affected area, according to emergency managers.

The Weather Service now says that the water levels behind the levee breach have stabilized, but will likely still increase as the level of the Mississippi goes slightly higher until Wednesday evening.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement on Twitter that her office was in contact with various state and local officials on the matter, and is making state resources available.

Around the time of the levee breach, the Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning and said that failure of the temporary HESCO barrier levee system was likely to occur soon. They characterized the situation as particularly dangerous, with life-threatening conditions potentially developing rapidly.

The Mississippi River has seen prolonged high water this spring, with another crest of 22.4 feet at Rock Island expected Wednesday evening, or just 0.2 feet short of a record crest set on July 9, 1993.

Flash Flood Warning text, now canceled, from the National Weather Service:

...THIS IS A FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCY FOR DOWNTOWN DAVENPORT...

...THE FLASH FLOOD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 945 PM CDT FOR
SOUTH CENTRAL SCOTT COUNTY...

AT 437 PM CDT, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND MEDIA REPORTED FLOODING ON
2ND STREET FROM AOURND RIPLEY TO PERSHING. WATER RESCUES ARE
UNDERWAY. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN RESCUED OFF THE ROOF OF AT
LEAST ONE BUILDING. GOVERNMENT BRIDGE IS CLOSED.

THIS IS A FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCY FOR DOWNTOWN DAVENPORT. THIS IS A
PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION. SEEK HIGHER GROUND NOW!

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND NOW. THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND
LIFE-THREATENING SITUATION. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TRAVEL UNLESS YOU ARE
FLEEING THE AREA SUBJECT TO FLOODING OR UNDER AN EVACUATION ORDER.
DO NOT GO DOWNTOWN TO VIEW THE FLOODING.


Water inundates cars and roadways near 2nd Street and Pershing Avenue in downtown Davenport on April 30, 2019 (Credit: ABC/Twitter @JohnBlunk)