Walz visits Hastings as city prepares for potential spring floods

Hastings among communities preparing for flooding

Gov. Tim Walz met with city officials Friday morning to discuss how Hastings is preparing for potential flooding.

Melting snow is making its way into lakes and rivers across the state, and several communities – including Hastings – are now on high alert, as water levels are expected to rise over the next week.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz visited the city Friday morning, where he met with city officials to talk about how they’re preparing for potential flooding.

The city is predicting the Mississippi River to crest at 18.5 feet by next week Thursday, meaning moderate to average flooding is expected.

The river doesn’t start flooding until it is 19 feet high, but city officials say by 15 feet, there will be some impacts felt in the city.

Residents are reminded to stay away from floods to prevent debris and a lot of cleanup work in the aftermath.

Hastings officials are expecting this spring flood to be similar to the one in 2019.

Although city leaders say they are prepared for sandbagging efforts, officials add as of now, there are no immediate plans to do so.

During Friday’s visit, Walz also spoke about the $40 million the Minnesota senate approved to replenish the state’s disaster assistance contingency account.

Walz plans to sign that legislation in the coming days and says it will allow the state to use its own funds to help with disasters if Minnesota doesn’t reach a threshold for a federal disaster declaration.

“To get a federal disaster declaration requires a very high level of damage, and it also takes a long time to get that done,” said Walz.

Walz also noted there have already been some accidents on rivers where the DNR had to rescue people due to flooding.

Officials are also reminding drivers that if you see barricades on flooded streets, to not drive around them.

In St. Paul, city officials closed part of Shepard Road along the Mississippi River, just south of the downtown area, as part of its preparations for potential spring flooding.

Crews can now prepare pumps and valves to protect the sewer system from rising water.

The road reopened at 8 a.m. Friday.

However, about three miles of Water Street and Lilydale Road will be closed starting Friday afternoon. That stretch is from Highway 13 to Plato Boulevard. It will be closed to vehicles, bikes and pedestrian traffic until water recedes.

RELATED: St. Paul to close Water Street Friday in anticipation of flooding