DES MOINES, Iowa – The third-largest city in Iowa abruptly joined the ranks of the state's regions ravaged by muddy floodwaters this spring when the Mississippi River rushed into downtown Davenport on Tuesday afternoon.
The HESCO barriers holding back floodwaters from the river failed, local media reported, spilling fast-moving waters into the eastern Iowa city with a population of 100,000. The inundation was so sudden that emergency responders had to rescue people from buildings.
Concern about Mississippi flooding, driven by snowmelt and heavy rain, has been high for weeks, but the danger spiked again this week after easing somewhat earlier in April.
"It was just the one barrier, so we're not expecting the flooding to spread beyond what we're seeing now," Davenport Public Works Director Nicole Gleason told the Associated Press on Tuesday. "That could change with heavy rain."
Gleason said crews and volunteers scrambled Tuesday afternoon to fill sandbags for other downtown businesses looking to keep the floodwaters out of their buildings. No injuries have been reported.
This season has been marked by major flooding disasters across Iowa. Until now, they had been mostly along the Missouri River and Interstate Highway 29 corridor and in spots across northern and north-central Iowa.