Rain predictions threaten to worsen the Mississippi River’s flooding in eastern Iowa communities like LeClaire, Bettendorf and Davenport. National Weather Service officials say additional rainfall isn’t built into their predictions for the river cresting this week in Davenport at about five-feet above flood stage.
Davenport Public Works crews are on an around-the-clock vigil along River Drive and other closed streets. Dan Curtiss is operating a pumper truck with long hoses extending into the flooded streets. Curtiss is pumping water from one side of River Drive to the other, working to move the pool over. He says they’re bracing for the worst, which is yet to come.
“It’s getting serious,” he says. “It’s getting deeper and deeper every day.” A few miles upriver from Davenport, people living in some 30 elevated homes along the Mississippi River in the town of Pleasant Valley are using boats and hip-wader rubber boots to get to their houses. Resident Lori Fox is making the best of it.
“We can’t get to our house,” Fox says. “We tried and walked all the way down there and it was pretty treacherous. Now, I’ve got my kayak so we will either boat in and out or not come back until the flood’s gone.” She says efforts to prevent the homes from being reached by high water were not successful.
Fox says, “Most of these houses are raised but it’s inside the houses and until the floodwaters go and you come back and clean out all the mud, you don’t know what damage was done until that time.” Most of Davenport’s riverfront LeClaire Park is already several feet underwater. That’s the location for the annual Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival.