Temporary levee breach, high Mississippi waters lead to massive flooding

DAVENPORT, Iowa (WREX) – Just more than 24 hours ago, water from the mighty Mississippi River cascaded over the Hesco barrier in Davenport, Iowa.

That breach lead to parts of downtown Davenport, which is normally protect from floodwaters, taking a direct hit.

Officials from across the Quad Cities held a news conference Wednesday morning and gave some insight into how and why the Hesco barrier failed Tuesday afternoon.

“The height of the river water had exceeded any other level that we had used this flood protection before and the volume of rain, said Davenport Public Works Director Nicole Gleason. “The previous night we did receive several inches of rain that contributed, and there’s also unknown conditions of the underlying infrastructure. Obviously this road and the sewer systems have all been underwater for upwards of 48 days and we’ve just never had anything like this happen before.”

Immediately following the breach of the temporary barrier, emergency responders were out on boats, responding to rescues across the area.  Some people even had to be to take to their roofs, waiting for rescue crews to arrive.

Because of the quick emergency response, no injuries were reported.

Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch spoke at today’s news conference about living in a city along the Mississippi River and the positive impact the Hesco barrier has had over the years.

“You know, we live with this river. It’s been the heartthrob of all of us and we not only want to protect it but our citizens,” Klipsch said. “So working together and working with this system we have used, this temporary flood protection system has worked well. The last major flood that got up to this level was over almost 26 years ago.”

13 News caught up with a number of business owners in downtown Davenport on Wednesday who were directly affected by the barrier breach.

Bob Herington, the owner of Ragged Records, said they started clearing out the building yesterday morning before the barrier gave way.

“When it did finally breach at 3:30 a.m. it literally filled the street within a minute or two minutes,” Herington said. “We closed he front door and had two feet of water in the front door. It was starting to sweep through the front of the building. Then it was time to move on.”

Much of the downtown area remains underwater as of Wednesday evening and officials did not give a timetable for when the water is expected to recede, only that they don’t expect the flooding to spread.

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