March 18, 2019 06:10 PM
Communities along the Mississippi River are preparing for major flooding this spring.
City leaders in Hastings laid out a flood preparation plan Monday, which includes partnering with local churches to help sandbag homes and property.
"I think it's absolutely critical to plan ahead," Public Works Director Nick Egger said. "The fortunate thing we have here with the Mississippi River is it takes a while to come up, so we can see that before we actually need to take action."
Major flood stage in Hastings is 18 feet. According to the National Weather Service, the Mississippi River has a 75 to 90 percent chance of reaching a flood stage of about 20 feet by early- to mid-April, with a 50 to 75 percent chance of reaching a stage of 21.5 feet. That would be just slightly lower than the 2001 flood in Hastings, which was the third highest on record.
"It's going to flood," Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly, with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said. "The question is how big? How bad? When and where? So we need to be ready."
Kelly said, when it comes to flooding, local governments will determine their own preparedness plans and then the state will step in to help with additional resources if necessary.
Hastings city leaders plan to provide sandbags for people who live in the area and then deliver them to curbsides for pickup. From there, volunteers can help set them up wherever they are needed.
"It's the emotional part of what can happen to a community," Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender said. "The best thing about it is our community is to known to come together to help each other."
City leaders said they are closely watching the forecast, specifically looking into how fast the snow is melting and whether more rain is predicted. They plan to start sandbagging within the next week or two.
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U.S. Representative Angie Craig represents the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Hastings. She told 5 EYEWITNESS News that her team is prepared to ask for federal help, if necessary, and she plans to participate in sandbagging efforts alongside the community.
"We're hoping for the best but we're preparing for what could happen and that's going to be major flooding around the region," Rep. Craig said.
City leaders in Hastings expect the flood preparations to cost the city up to $30,000 because of extra materials, labor and overtime for city workers.
Updated: March 18, 2019 06:10 PM
Created: March 18, 2019 12:21 PM
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