Originally Posted Online: April 18, 2013, 10:43 am
Last Updated: April 19, 2013, 9:26 pm

Mississippi, Rock flex muscles on Friday

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Staff report

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Photo: John Greenwood
Tom McLaughlin carries a sandbag to a waiting wheelbarrow as Alex Sellers shoveled sand for a residence on North Shore Drive in Moline Friday afternoon. The pair were assisting a homeowner in trying to keep the Rock River from damaging the residence.
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Photo: John Greenwood
Busily sandbagging Friday evening at the businesses of Discount Tobacco and More and Two Scoops, located at West 2nd Street and River Drive, are Sandip Kandel and Shabie Dudley. Helping bag in the rear are Bikram Thapa, Gurdev Singh, Josh Hicks and Chad Yingst.
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Photo: John Greenwood
Employees with the Davenport public works department level sand in a retaining wall on River Drive near Iowa Street Friday afternoon. They are trying to keep the Mississippi River from creeping into businesses next to the river as it swells out of its banks.
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Photo: John Greenwood
Water pours back into the Mississippi river after being pumped from inside a levee in the city Friday afternoon in Andalusia.
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Photo: John Greenwood
Pumps work to help keep the Mississippi River at bay Friday afternoon in Andalusia.
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Photo: John Greenwood
Water from the Rock River flows over the road near 27th St. West and 53rd Avenue W. on Big Island near the Rock Island Conservation Club.
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Photo: John Greenwood
Water from the Rock River flows over the road near 27th St. West and 53rd Avenue W. on Big Island near the Rock Island Conservation Club.
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Photo: Paul Colletti
Barstow fire fighter Bree Lihou stacks sand bags at the village fire station on Friday, April 19, 2013. On Friday the volunteer fire department was busy repairing a portion of the town's protective levee with thousands of sand bags while carefully monitoring forecasts for the Rock River's crest.
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Photo: Paul Colletti
Access to a home on 193 St. N. near Barstow is cut off by high water on Friday, April 19, 2013. Flood water in front of the home almost completely cover the road on Friday afternoon - hours before the nearby Rock River was expected to crest. Neighbors say they have sen worse flooding, but that the frequency of severe flooding has increased in recent years.
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Photo: John Greenwood
The Rock River in Colona has once again jumped out of its banks and is pestering residents living next to the waterway. As of Thursday afternoon, the Illinois Department of Transportation closed Route 84 going north into Colona due to water on the road.
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Photo: Gary Krambeck
City of Moline workers pile up sandbags at 34th Street and River Drive in Moline for predicted flood waters from the Mississippi River Thursday April 18, 2013. The National Weather Service projects the river will crest at 20.2 feet Sunday afternoon; flood stage is 15 feet.
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Photo: John Greenwood
The Illinois Department of Transportation closed Route 84 going north into Colona Thursday afternoon due to the Rock River flowing out of its banks and onto the highway.
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Photo: Todd Mizener
Kurt DeShane, owner of Antique Asylum, look out the front window of his shop on U.S. 6 in Geneseo as the flood waters from the Geneseo Creek nearly surround the building. Mr. DeShane reported that a few inches of water made it into the store. He plans to reopen by Saturday.
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Photo: Todd Mizener
Tracy Svetlick carries family possessions from of her stepson's mobile home in Maple City Mobile Home Park in Geneseo, Ill., Thursday, April 18, 2013, after the Geneseo Creek pushed out of its banks by heavy rain, flooded the park and threatened several businesses.
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Photo: Todd Mizener
Chris Svetlick carries his son's bed to higher ground in the Maple City Mobile Home Park in Geneseo on Thursday morning. In the background Tracy Svetlick carries some of her step-son's possessions in a laundry basket. Geneseo Police alerted the trailer park's manager about 5 a.m. this morning that the nearby creek was going to flood at least a portion of the park. As of noon the water was starting to recede into its banks.
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Photo: Todd Mizener
Rachel Goodrich moves family possessions out of a mobile home in Maple City Mobile Home Park in Geneseo Thursday, April 18, 2012. Geneseo Creek, pushed out of its banks by heavy rain, flooded the park and threatened several businesses.
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Photo: Todd Mizener
Randy Franck, manager of Maple City Mobile Home Park in Geneseo, watches as water from Geneseo Creek rises Thursday morning, April 15, 2013. He said this marks the third time in his seven years as manager that the creek has flooded the park.
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Photo: Paul Colletti
Part of a 10-feet-high stone wall at the John Deere House lays across the sidewalk and on 12th Street in Moline on Thursday, April 18, 2013. Heavy rains may have contributed to the collapse. In March, city officials said the wall was crumbling. Owner Roger Colmark said then he had no intention of fixing it. Ten years ago, he was quoted an approximate cost of $300,000 for repairs. In 2007, he quit paying property taxes on the parcel, part of his plan to rid himself of the property. However, the county said he officially still is the owner and is responsible for maintenance.
Photo: Claudia Loucks
Geneseo Creek pushed rapidly out of its banks Thursday morning, April 18, 2012. Here, flood waters cover a portion of South Stewart Street.
Photo: Andrea Timbrook
Water rises from Geneseo Creek through the parking lot of the Geneseo Moose Lodge on South State Street. State Street has been closed for traffic as the creek has flooded the road and is rising toward nearby businesses and homes.
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Photo: Todd Mizener
Davenport Public Works employees work to fortify a flood wall to protect the Credit Island Lodge from the rising waters of the Mississippi River on Wednesday April 17, 2013. A flash flood warning remains in effect until 11:45 a.m. for Rock Island, Bureau, Putnam, Mercer, Henry, Louisa and southern Muscatine counties. The forecast for the rest of today calls for rain and thunderstorms.
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Photo: Todd Mizener
Rock Island stands high and dry in the background while Javier Herrera, of Davenport, walks his dog Chato in Davenport's LeClaire Park on Wednesday April 17, 2013. As of Wednesday afternoon the river levels at Lock and Dam 15 had reach flood stage at 15 feet. The river is expected to crest on either Saturday and Sunday at approximately 19 feet.
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Photo: Todd Mizener
A temporary flood wall has been installed at the top of the boat ramp in Davenport's LeClaire Park in advance of the rising flood waters of the Mississippi River. As of Wednesday afternoon the river levels at Lock and Dam 15 had reach flood stage at 15-feet. The river is expected to crest on either Saturday and Sunday at approximately 19-feet.

The swollen Rock and Mississippi rivers were still flexing their muscles Friday, causing headaches for those within their reach.

On Thursday afternoon, both rivers overflowed their banks to flood low lying areas, cut off roads and turn houses close to the shore into islands. Many of Friday's flood problems, however, focused on the Rock.

As of7:30 p.m. Friday, the National Weather Service rated the river as major flooding at Joslin, where it was at 17.34 feet, and also at Moline, where it was at 14.81 feet. Flood stage at both locations is 12 feet.

Karen Pouder and her husband, Frank, live near Barstow on 12th Avenue North just off 193rd Street North. On Friday, the water was starting to cover 12th Avenue and overwhelm the adjacent fields, threatening to cut off their house and pretty much give Mrs. Pouder a lake view.

But she said she's seen worse. In the 30 years they've lived there, she said there have been seven record floods. In one case, she said, her husband was trapped in the house and she was trapped out of it, forced to stay with her sister for five days.

"It's not the worst we've seen," Mrs. Pouder said. "No, not yet."

The couple has stocked up on food for themselves and their animals, she said, and are ready to wait it out.

Along 193rd Street North a little past the Pouders, Rock River water in low-lying woodland was close to spanning the roadway to touch water welling up out of the ditch, leaving barely a car-width for passing vehicles.

Past its intersection with 193rd Street North, Barstow Road disappeared under the dark, cold water. By late Friday morning, it was blocked by white and orange "Road Closed" signs.

Many farm fields along Barstow Road also were filled with the overflow, letting geese, ducks, pelicans and other water fowl replace the deer that otherwise might be seen there. In areas where the water was relatively calm, mats of vegetation and trash covered the water.

In Barstow, members of the Carbon Cliff-Barstow Fire Protection District on Friday were preparing for another day of fighting water rather than fire. They filled bags with sand to add to the good-sized pile next to the fire station.

Fire Chief Matt Schnepple said the sandbags would be used at critical infrastructure, such as pump lifts, electrical substations and the fire station. The firefighters and their families spent hours Thursday beefing up a reported weak point in a levy at the edge of town.

Chief Schnepple said people were not preparing for this flood as much as they had during previous floods of similar scale. 

"That's of some concern to us," he said, urging people not to take the waters lightly.

Colona was fighting water on two fronts -- the Rock and Green rivers -- according to Colona public works director Rick Crew. The Green River, at one point, began to top its levee system. Workers were reinforcing it when the river began to recede, Mr. Crew said..

The Rock River at the Illinois 84 bridge had well overflowed its banks Friday, besieging nearby homes. Mr. Crew said the the Rock River was mainly a threat to the part of Colona sandwiched between Illinois 84 and the Hennepin Canal, a low-lying area home to about 1,500 people.

However, the levees were holding, he said, and Colona was ready to barricade roads and other low points if needed.

The neighborhoods along North Shore Drive and South Shore Drive, which rim either bank of the Rock River near Moline and Milan, had lost all or most of their yards and driveways to the water Friday. Canoes could be seen moored near front doors. Cars and trucks that could not be parked in swamped driveways were queued up on high parts of the road.

Northwest of Milan, water flooded into land and ponds overseen by the Rock Island Conservation Club. As of Friday, a great deal of room still separated the club's buildings and the flood waters.

Former conservation club president Al Classen said that, in earlier flood seasons, the water threatened buildings but never actually damaged them. Like the Pouders, he said he's seen worse.

"Nothing compares to '93," he said, referencing the record flood of that year. "At least not yet."

The Rock River is expected to crest  Sunday at both locations, according to the NWS. At Joslin, the crest is expected at 19.1 feet, just below the record of 19.2. At Moline, the crest is expected at 16.3, just below the previous record of 16.4 feet.

The Mississippi River on Friday also was reminding people of its power. As of 7:30 p.m., the NWS had rated the river in a moderate flood stage. Water was at 17.85 feet; flood stage is 15 feet.

Water pushed well into downtown Davenport's riverfront. Late Friday afternoon, city workers were packing sand into a barricade that lined the center of River Drive. Access to roadway was cut off, and water was flowing from pipes and other drainage systems for buildings in the blocks immediately adjacent to it.

"We are in great shape," city spokeswoman Jennifer Nahra said in a Friday afternoon email. The city's flood plan was activated, and the defenses thrown up, in record time, she said.

Flood barriers were in place at locations such as Modern Woodmen Park and the Credit Island Lodge, with other portions nearing completion. A city news release said staff were switching from fortifying Davenport against the river to monitoring its defenses.

Sandbagging stopped Friday after a team of employees and Scott County Jail inmates filled 25,000 bags in two days, the release stated.

The Mississippi River is also expected to crest Sunday at 19.7 feet, well below the record of 22.6 feet, according to the NWS.

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