Buffalo: We need help sandbagging, but otherwise, please stay away
The only way into the City of Buffalo is via Coonhunters Road. But if you aren't coming to help sandbag, Buffalo police and city officials would rather you stay away. With floodwaters rising fast to an expected crest of 23.2 feet tomorrow, and Elm Street and Highway 22 water-covered, they don't need gawkers. Residents who need sand, plastic or sandbags -- or anyone willing to help -- should contact City Hall, 129 Dodge Street, Buffalo, or facebook.com/Buffaloiowa/. If you're willing to help, go to the same spots.
Water restoration company keeping 'head above water'
Blaze Restoration has been flooded with calls, so to speak, from customers requesting water damage services.
But, Business Development Director Mark Carlson said it's the rain, more so than the flooding, causing the deluge of calls.
"Where the flooding comes into play is in the lower areas, where storm sewers have trouble handing the water at the height," Carlson said. "It's a rainy season so that always makes it busy. Then, Moline had a power outage, so sump pumps had some trouble, which added to it."
Despite rising flood waters and rain, Carlson said the call volume has not surpassed this past winter, where customers dealt with broken or frozen water pipes.
"We are getting more calls, but we're keeping our head above water," he said.
Operations Manager Nichole Gaus, with SERVPRO, said with sump pumps failing and water seeping in from foundations, the company also has received a large number of calls. But, she said the call volume has been typical for this time of year.
As the flood water recedes, she expects the number of service calls to increase.
Carlson cautioned businesses and residents to be prepared, even if they haven't been affected by flooding in the past. He suggests using battery back-ups for sump pumps, plus calling the restoration company for an evaluation.
Upper Mississippi locks closed, halting barge traffic
With all but two locks closed along the Upper Mississippi River, local barge traffic has come to a complete halt, said spokesman Allen Marshall, with the Rock Island District of the Army Corps of Engineers.
Lock and Dam 15 in Rock Island closed last month due to flooding. Marshall said Lock 19 in Keokuk and Lock and Dam 21 in Quincy remain open, but they're expected to close within the next couple of days.
That will mean all of the locks along the Upper Mississippi, from Dubuque, Iowa to Saverton, Missouri, will be closed.
"I don't think there is a typical flooding season anymore. Locks were also closed in March due to high water," Marshall said. "We had some closures last year, and it happens, but it hasn't been a regular occurrence — at least not to the extent that all of these locks are closed right now. That's rare."
As a result, companies shipping products on dozens of barges up and down the Mississippi River are searching for alternative means of transportation or are dealing with stalled operations.
"There's not much you can do with multiple closures," he said.
Marshall said as the water recedes, locks will open along the river from north to south. He expects Lock and Dam 11 to reopen around May 3, with the rest of the locks opening late next week, depending on the river level.
Arsenal viaduct has closed
The Rock Island Arsenal has closed the Rock Island viaduct and the Rock Island gate to all traffic because of the inability to clear rainfall from the intersection near the Rock Island gate.
The gate and viaduct will reopen when flood conditions improve.
The Davenport gate is open only to traffic with Arsenal passes or official identification. All other traffic must go to the Moline gate.
Bud's Skyline Riverview needs help, too.
The brother-sister team that is re-opening their father's namesake restaurant in Davenport was close to finally opening their doors when the near-record flood hit.
By 11 a.m. Tuesday, the Mississippi River was lapping at the seawall behind Bud's Skyline Riverview.
As Davenport Public Works crews were delivering sand and sandbags, co-owner Audie Canfield was calling on former owners of the building at the base of Oneida Street to ask where to place the sandbags.
"This is my first rodeo," Canfield said. "I don't even know where, exactly, the water comes up."
City officials told Canfield she could use the sandbags placed in her parking lot on the downstream side of Bud's, because the city is abandoning efforts to save that area.
"They said they're going to let it go, and we can have those bags they put around the storm sewers," she said. "I only have a few people to help fill bags. I need help."
Volunteers are asked to dress for the rain and bring a shovel, if possible. The address is 1201 River Drive, and the best route to access it is via Oneida Avenue.
Audie and her brother, Brian Canfield, have been working on getting their restaurant open for months. They were required to pull permits and undergo various inspections because of improvements they made to the building.
Their father, Charles "Bud" Canfield," sold his Skyline restaurant at the Quad-City International Airport to the airport authority in October 2015, and it was razed to make room for new development.
He died about nine months later, and his children bought the former Driftwood restaurant late last year as a tribute to their dad.