Evacuations in Iowa city after Mississippi flash flood

(Reuters) - Part of downtown Davenport, Iowa, a city of over 100,000 people, was flooded on Tuesday after a temporary levee broke and water from the rising Mississippi River surged in, forcing dozens of people to evacuate.

Up to six-feet (1.8 meters) of water flooded some areas of central Davenport, 80 miles southeast of Cedar Rapids, according to Dave Donovan, Scott County Emergency Management director.

“We’ve probably evacuated 80-100 people total,” said Donovan by phone. “It wasn’t a huge area we were protecting; it’s just a few city blocks.”

The wettest winter on record in the U.S. Midwest has left soils saturated with areas vulnerable to river flooding following rainstorms.

The Mississippi has been rising for weeks near Davenport, inundating areas on its banks and forcing authorities to put up temporary barriers to protect residential areas.

The river is set to rise another seven inches (18 cm) before cresting on Wednesday evening, Donovan said.

The National Weather Service forecast the rise in the level of the Mississippi would reach within a foot of a record high for the Quad Cities, which include Davenport.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb and Andrew Hay; Editing by Cynthia Osterman