Parts of the Midwest underwater after rain, floods break levees

It has been more than 25 years since the Mississippi River rose to levels as high as they are now in some parts of the Midwest.

As its height reaches historic levels, several cities were left underwater Thursday afternoon.

A former river walk in Naperville, Illinois turned into a river. In Davenport, Iowa, one of the hardest hit areas saw streets turned into lakes after the river breached levees and barriers shortly after noon.

“The breaching of that flood protection system resulted in the incursion of water which has surrounded several building in a two or three-block area,” said Dave Donovan, of Scott County (IA) Emergency Management.

Ahead of this historic flooding, in the midst of the heavy rains, hundreds of volunteers worked to reinforce the levees and barriers, but it wasn’t enough to keep the mighty Mississippi River at bay.

“Obviously, this road, the sewer systems, have all been underwater for upwards of 48 days. And we have just not had anything like this happen before,” said Nicole Gleason, of Davenport Public Works.

Several businesses and homes were only accessible by boat Thursday afternoon. The surge of flood waters left several seeking rescue.

Officials in the Quad Cities say they have the flooding contained, but now the waiting begins.

There is no way to know how much damage is being done until water levels drop.

“The reality is, we have to take a look at if the rain keeps flowing and the flood keeps flooding, we have to wait until that recedes until we can come in and make long-term changes,” said Frank Klipsch, the mayor of Davenport.