DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) – A meteorologist says there’s not much risk of rainfall heavy enough to further raise the Mississippi River flood threat in eastern Iowa.
A temporary flood barrier failed in Davenport on Tuesday, submerging downtown blocks and forcing some people to seek shelter on rooftops. They later were evacuated by boats.
Davenport City Administrator Corri Spiegel declined to comment early Wednesday about any overnight developments.
Scattered showers are in the forecast for Wednesday, but National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Gibbs said chances of a thunderstorm system that could bring heavy rain are “pretty low.” The service isn’t warning of severe weather upstream either.
The river is expected to crest Wednesday evening or overnight at 22.4 feet (6.83 meters) in Davenport, short of the record crest of 22.6 feet (6.9 meters) set in July 1993.
Officials in Davenport, Iowa, say they’re not expecting flooding that swept into a section of downtown Tuesday to spread much beyond the couple of blocks already under water.
Davenport Public Works Director Nicole Gleason says one flood barrier failed along the river, swamping vehicles and buildings along part of the Mississippi River’s edge. Gleason says as long as the other barriers hold and rain overnight is not heavier than expected, much of the flooding should be contained to a few blocks.
Officials and volunteers scrambled to fill sandbags Tuesday afternoon to get to downtown business owners hoping to keep floodwaters out.
The National Weather Service says the river at Davenport reached a level of 21.88 feet by 5 p.m. – the fifth highest level recorded at the spot. The river is expected to crest Wednesday at 22.2 feet – just inches below the record of 22.6 feet set in 1993.
Mayor Frank Klipsch says no one was injured Tuesday in the flooding.
Officials have started evacuations of some buildings and cars after a flood barrier failure along the Mississippi River sent floodwaters rushing into downtown Davenport.
The National Weather Service sent an alert around 4 p.m. Tuesday of a flash flood emergency, urging people downtown to immediately seek higher ground. Television station KWQC reports public works officials said a temporary barrier had failed and that many people sought shelter on the rooftops.
The floodwaters have overtaken dozens of vehicles and the first floors of several buildings, and rescue crews could be seen launching boats into the floodwaters to retrieve people stranded by the sudden surge.
There were no immediate reports of any injuries.
Communities in several states along the Mississippi River are watching the skies this week as rainfall will likely determine whether the river reaches record crests and how much it will push up floodwaters.
The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for areas directly next to the river in 10 states, from Minnesota and Wisconsin south to Louisiana and Mississippi.
In Iowa, some cities on the river’s banks – including Davenport and Muscatine – have shut down low-lying streets and erected flood walls and sandbag barriers.
Flood watches have been issued for larger tracts around in the river in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, as well as sections of Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas as heavy rain that began in some places Monday was set to continue into Tuesday and Wednesday.