Residents of a Port Byron mobile home park were evacuated Monday as the Rock River threatened to overwhelm the park's levee.
Significant rains in recent weeks sent the Rock into a record-setting flood starting Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. The river crested Sunday in Moline at a record 16.53 feet, skating over the former mark of 16.4 feet. At Joslin, the crest Sunday was 19.13 feet.
Flood stage at both locations is 12 feet.
NWS measurements Monday showed the river was beginning a gradual fall. Even so, the Port Byron Fire Department early Monday afternoon began advising residents of about 20 properties at Falcon Farms, a mobile home park at 2507 214th St. N., Port Byron, to evacuate. Firefighters said there were signs the levee protecting the park could give way.
That evacuation was expanded to 50 residences later Monday, said Lt. Andy Rogers of the Port Byron Fire Department. Around 4:30 p.m., the levee was still holding and the American Red Cross of the Quad-Cities was on standby in case anyone needed assistance.
As of that time, the pumps seemed to be handling the water, Lt. Rogers said. "They're winning right now," he said.
Kyle Turnbull, a regional manager for Falcon Farms, said about 160 of the 215 lots in the park are occupied. He noted that broken water pipes also was forcing a boil order for the park until further notice.
Water completely filled several streets in the southeast corner of the park and was half way up the wheels of several pickup trucks seen driving through the flooded area. Workers also could be seen running several water pumps, one the size of a pickup, and inspecting sandbags on the levee.
Port Byron firefighters were assisted by colleagues from Hillsdale and Cordova, as well as Rock Island sheriff's deputies and Genesis ambulance crews. Firefighters waded through the water or walked along its edge, speaking with residents.
"Sir, check with us when you're ready to leave," one firefighter told a man who was standing on his porch.
"I'll be leaving in about a half hour," the man replied.
Amanda Dawson, with the help of her family, used pickups to move a number of possessions, including her children's clothes, photos and furniture. They would be staying with family, she said.
LeAnna Ropp, 28, left with just her cell phone and a bottle of water. Ms. Ropp, who is expecting a baby at the end of May, said she and some friends moved items for the baby up high and would take them out if necessary.
Lt. Rogers and several residents said water began entering the park Saturday, but had begun to fall significantly by Monday morning. The fire department also called to the park Sunday to assess the water, but found no problems, Lt. Rogers said.
As of 7 p.m. Monday, the evacuation remained in place although water in the park had started to drop, according to Port Byron Fire Chief Don Carey. He said firefighters were confident enough of the situation that they had pulled back at that time.
Mr. Turnbull said anyone with questions should contact the main office of Falcon Farms at 309-278-5418.
The flooding could be among the last stages of what has been a significant flood for the Rock River that began last week. By Friday, neighborhoods throughout the Quad-Cities immediately adjacent to the river, and near or in Barstow and Cordova, were taking on significant amounts of water.
Since Sunday's crest, the river has been falling gradually. As of 5:30 p.m. Monday, the Rock River was at 18.93 feet at Joslin and 16.32 feet at Moline. By 7 a.m. today , the river is expected to be at 18.5 feet at Joslin and 16.1 feet at Moline.
The Mississippi River also has flooded, although not as bad. Water entering Davenport's riverfront was largely contained at River Drive, failing to inhibit access to riverfront attractions such as Modern Woodman Park.
The Mississippi crested at 19.12 feet Sunday morning but had declined to 18.74 feet as of 6 p.m. Monday.
The flooding was caused by substantial precipitation in recent weeks, said NWS meteorologist Tom Philip said. No significant precipitation is expected in the near future, he said.
Rock River at Joslin -- Flood stage: 12 feet -- Level (As of 5:30 p.m. Monday): 18.93 feet -- Changes in last 24 hours: -.18 feet -- Forecast change next 24 hours: -.83 feet
Rock River at Moline -- Flood stage: 12 feet -- Level (As of 5:30 p.m. Monday): 16.32 feet -- Changes in last 24 hours: - .18 feet -- Forecast change next 24 hours: - .52 feet
Mississippi River Lock & Dam 15 at Rock Island -- Flood stage: 15 feet -- Level (As of 6 p.m. Monday): 18.74 feet. -- Changes in last 24 hours: -.34 -- Forecast change next 24 hours: -.64
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Today is Sunday, March 9, the 68th day of 2014. There are 297 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Much damage is being done to sidewalks, shade trees, fences and gardens by hogs that are running at large about town. 1889 -- 125 years ago: H.C. Cleveland was elected air knight captain of Rock Island Division Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias. 1914 -- 100 years ago: B.W. Wilson, authority on birds and their habits, spoke at the weekly luncheon at the Rock Island Club. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The famous Dionne quintuplets have been invited to visit King George and Queen Elizabeth in Toronto on May 22, but Papa Dionne thinks their majesties should include the Callander nursery in their tour. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Ever been smothered by funny stuff? Well more than 2,600 people were last night when two boys named Tom and Dick Smothers took a "rocky, twisting road to folk music" in Davenport Masonic Temple. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Moline residents soon may be asked to recycle part of their garbage and might even get paid for it.