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2023 Flood Response

2023 Flood Response
Posted on 03/15/2023
2023 Flood Response

Davenport is preparing the community to be ready and resilient to potential spring flooding based on the National Weather Service’s third Spring Flood Outlook on March 9. While there is still room for change, preparations are underway following the forecast of an 80% chance for the Mississippi River to reach 18 FT, or Major Flood Stage, and a 50% chance of reaching river stage 20 FT in April.

The Mayor and Council were updated on the outlook, City preparations, participation in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Community Rating System program, the City’s Substantial Damage Management Plan specific to properties in Special Flood Hazard Areas, and upcoming community meetings on March 14 in the effort to support a prepared community.

As we prepare to protect infrastructure and travel routes to the extent possible, The City is encouraging the community to prepare; mailing invitations to attend two community meetings focused on preparing property owners located in the riverfront floodplain for flooding. Information on resources such as sand and sandbags, flood insurance, flood forecast, mitigation, and potential recovery steps will be covered.

  • Community Meeting #1 | 4:30 p.m., Monday, March 20, Police Department Community Room
  • Community Meeting #2 | 11 a.m., Wednesday, March 22, Davenport Council Chambers

Recognizing high river levels can impact other community members, we are providing a high-level overview of what to expect should river levels begin to rise.

  • 13 FT, S Concord closures begin, gates and pumps are set in southwest Davenport
  • 14.5 FT, Marquette and River Dr impacted. The road should remain open to approx. 17.5/18 FT if there is a long duration between river stage 15 FT and 18 FT. It will close if the duration is short-term.
  • 15 FT, Credit Island closed to the public due to water over the causeway
  • 15 FT, Modern Woodmen Park wall installation begins
  • 16 FT, Riverfront Walk begins to become covered
  • Greater than 18 FT, River Dr will close between Division St and Federal. Spot locations not covered by water or barriers will be accessible using N/S streets. 
  • Measures and the length of River Dr closures increase as river levels rise above 18 FT

Temporary barriers may be necessary on River Dr between Brady and Iowa Streets. The river forecast at that time will determine how and if temporary barriers are placed to maintain access to 2nd St and the Government Bridge. At a minimum, if river levels will exceed 18 FT, the barriers will be placed in a back-to-back configuration. The higher the potential and river stage, a second barrier will be added atop the riverfront facing barriers to form an “L” shape.

Staff is monitoring conditions and looks forward to a fourth Spring Flood Outlook on March 23. Stay tuned for updates, and remember the most reliable way to stay informed of response and recovery activities is to sign-up for alerts at

The National Weather Service recently released its third spring flood outlook and intends to hold a fourth outlook the week of March 20, 2023, due to the potential for major flooding. The third outlook indicated an 82% chance of reaching major flood stage, a 70% chance of reaching river stage 19 FT, and a 50% chance of reaching 20 FT river stage. Chances will increase or decrease pending on the rate of melt and precipitation in the coming weeks.

To help at-risk property owners prepare, the City is holding two informational meetings to answer questions property owners may have and discuss available resources.

  • Monday, March 20 – 4:30 p.m., Police Department Community Room, 416 N Harrison Street
  • Wednesday, March 23 – 11:00 a.m., City Hall, Council Chambers, 226 W 4th Street

Those unable to attend are encouraged to visit our website,, to learn more about available resources.

We also encourage property owners to sign-up for flood alerts at

The chances to reach moderate and major flood stages have increased since the first National Weather Service spring flood outlook. During the second outlook briefing on February 23, officials are now forecasting a 50 to 75% chance of reaching moderate flood stage, 16 FT, and a 50/50 chance of reaching major flood stage, 18 FT, between late March and mid-April. 

The change in forecast is primarily due to the volume of snowfall to the north over the past few weeks. The weather service mentioned, even though the overall risk of spring flooding is well above average on the Mississippi River, this does not guarantee that high-impact flooding will occur. The severity of any flooding will be determined by future precipitation events and the rate of snowmelt in the Upper Mississippi basin in the coming weeks.

With increased chances, the City will be closely monitoring river levels and is taking appropriate preparedness actions such as exercising gates and pumps, response refresher training, and inventory of flood fighting materials such as temporary barriers, sand, and sandbags. Property owners in the floodplain are encouraged to do the same. Key preparedness tips and information can be found at The community can also sign-up for flood alerts at

Watch for updates in the coming weeks as conditions change and the final spring flood outlook for the season is released on March 9.


Our friends at the National Weather Service issued the first of three spring flood outlook briefings on February 9. With probabilities ranging, at this time, from 10 to 25% for exceeding 18 FT in April, the National Weather Service reported an average risk for reaching 15 to 16 FT based on current snow water equivalent, frost depth, soil moisture, and forecast data. Although we may see little inconvenience or challenge from the Mississippi this year, keep in mind the forecast is early. Rest assured – the City is prepared for whatever comes our way.

As a resilient community, the City is preparing for all conditions that might arise by running through seasonal flood preparation activities. And, we encourage all property owners and business managers located in the floodplain to prepare too. Property owners can find a wealth of resources at

As we prepare, we also want to draw property and business owners' attention to FEMA’s proposed Flood Insurance Rate maps. Find details at

In the meantime, the City has been steadfast in its efforts to implement the City’s 2021/2022 Flood Resilience study. Requiring several years to implement, here are some current updates:

  • As a priority separate from the resilience study, three projects to reduce flood risk at the regional Water Pollution Control Plant and neighboring Davenport Compost Facility are in varying stages. A southern berm is anticipated to begin construction early summer of 2023. As construction on the berm starts, the City expects to receive news on the status of a $3.8M BRIC grant that will construct a northern berm. Pending a grant application, the engineering and design of a third project to build a rail overpass and a new, higher-elevation access road to both facilities should begin this spring.
  •  Phase II, clearing and repair, on Black Hawk and Walnut Creek berm repairs is in the planning stage. Work is expected to begin in the spring of 2023. Once complete, a new maintenance schedule will be implemented.
  • The Union Station flood defense system project continues through the FEMA approval process.
  • The City plans to resubmit an $18M+ RAISE grant for storm sewer improvements, and targeted road raises that will maintain access to River Drive through river stage 17.5 feet with little to no staff intervention/response, establish a permanent flood detour to river stage 22 feet once River Drive is closed due to flood waters, and keep access to the Centennial and Government Bridges open during flood events greater than 22 feet. After submitting the grant in 2022 and making it through several rounds, the City was informed it was not approved during that grant cycle; however, reviewers provided feedback to bolster a second submission in the spring of 2023.
  • A project to perform storm sewer improvements to prevent flood waters from inundating the area of River Drive from 3rd Street to Carey Avenue and the intersection of River Drive and Marquette Street will both be released for bid in August of 2023.

Watch for updates as the National Weather Service releases its next flood forecasts.