Originally Posted Online: July 29, 2011, 5:04 pm
Last Updated: July 30, 2011, 10:03 am

Mississippi rising faster than forecast

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By Laura Anderson Shaw, landerson@qconline.com

The mighty Mississippi River is on the rise and forecast to pass into moderate flood stage by Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

NWS meteorologist David Cousins said the river has been rising a bit faster than expected.

On Friday afternoon, the NWS forecast the river would hit the moderate flood stage of 16 feet Saturday morning and crest at 16.1 feet in the overnight hours between Saturday and Sunday. That would be 1.1 feet above flood stage but a bit lower than initial NWS projection of 17.1 feet.

As of 2 a
 .m, Saturday, the Mississippi River at Hampton was at 10.5 feet, about half a foot below the flood level of 11 feet. In Rock Island, the river was at 15.1 feet; flood stage there is 15 feet.

On the Rock River, water levels at 11 p.m. Friday were 9.27 feet in Moline and 8.9 feet in Joslin. Flood level at both locations is 11 feet.

Mr. Cousins said the river forecast was adjusted as the NWS got "a better idea of what's going on and the amount of water that has flowed into the river system." 

"We (now) have a better idea of how the river will react at Rock Island," he said.

If the forecast is correct, the river will jump about 5 feet in just three days.

"For a large river, it's a quick rise," Mr. Cousins said.

At the 15-foot-flood stage, Mississippi River water will affect several sections of South Concord Street south of River Drive in Davenport and hit the foundations of several homes on Enchanted Island, according to the NWS. Water also will affect industries along the river at the south end of Davenport.

At 15.5 feet, water will affect LeClaire Park. At 16 feet, river water will affect sidewalks along the river at the park, Credit Island Lane and Moline's River Drive in the 4700 block, according to the NWS.

Although Davenport officials have closed Credit Island and some downtown streets, few changes are planned for the Bix 7, The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa and other events. 

According to the website devoted to the Davenport leg of RAGBRAI, camping for riders now will be in Centennial Park north of the Spray Park because of the closure of Credit Island. 

The route of the ride's final mile has been moved from the Recreational Bike Trail to Route 61/River Drive before turning right on Marquette Street. The dip site, however, remains the same.

As RAGBRAI participants arrive, River Drive eastbound lanes will be closed to vehicle traffic from Division to Ripley streets. The traffic detour plan remains under review and motorists should be aware that they may encounter detours when driving in the downtown area.

After the river crests, it will return to its banks relatively quickly, according to the NWS' forecast. It will fall back to the 11-foot range, where it was before storms hit northern Illinois and Iowa counties earlier this week, by about Thursday.
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