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Red Wing readies for potential flooding from snow melt and rainfall

March 11, 2019 10:41 PM

When it comes to springtime weather hazards, there are some areas more prone to flooding than others in Minnesota.

That includes Southern Minnesota and, more specifically, Red Wing in Goodhue County. There are three major watersheds located nearby: the Mississippi, Cannon and Zumbro rivers.

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With parts of the Mississippi River still frozen over on Monday and the water eight feet below flood stage, the mighty Mississippi didn't seem so mighty. But, Brad Smith has weathered enough storms over 50-plus years, and he knows how quickly that can change.

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"I'm nervous, there is a lot of snow on the ground and if it melts all at once with the rain, I'm really worried it could speed up the melt," said Smith.

Smith owns the Harbor Bar on the Wisconsin side of the water. He's installed a pole on the floor of the building to help hold it up, plus keep track of when it floods and how much.

Others who dare to live on the river said they're worried more about protecting their boat houses from damage caused by floating trees.

Flood preparations underway in Hastings

Rick Moskwa, Director of Public Works in Red Wing, said those are some of the hazards he's watching out for.

"When the water reaches a certain height, roads will be closed," Moskwa said.

He's watching out for those like Levee Road and Inkada, which are in the flood plain, along with the area where barges load cargo, the marina and wastewater treatment plant are located. Moskwa said traffic from Wisconsin to Minnesota could be compromised if the snow melt and runoff are significant.

More on local flooding concerns and preparations

"The Highway 63 bridge is being replaced and water will be an issue," said Moskwa. 

That's especially true for workers who rely on the bridge to drive to work, many of them at Red Wing Shoes.

The last major flooding in the area occurred in 2014. Red Wing has been declared a Federal Disaster Area 10 times; 70 percent of the time, according to FEMA, was due to flooding.

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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