Water patrols prepare for flood waters in Ramsey County

March 23, 2019 10:37 PM

The fight against impending flooding started on the Mississippi River on Saturday for a dozen Ramsey County sheriff's deputies.

The water patrol unit launched a handful of boats for the first time this year from Watergate Marina.


Commander Eric Bradt said his unit kicked into overdrive after seeing the flood forecast for the end of March.

KSTP spring flooding coverage

"We want to make sure it's ready to deploy in a flood situation which is imminent at this point," Bradt said.

Deputies took turns running search and rescue drills. Dressed in bright yellow and orange water suits, they took turns pulling each other into boats and off of large icebergs in the river.

"We're out here to learn, to experience the high water," Bradt said.

During his patrols on the Mississippi River, Bradt said the effects of the swollen river are visible. A sandbar near the lock and dam is completely submerged, as bare trees stick up from the water. The river is starting to cover parking lots and picnic tables at popular recreation spots.

RELATED: Volunteers, state officials fill 10,000 sandbags in Hastings

"There's a lot of debris in the river," Bradt said, adding that large ice chunks are also a concern.

"People aren't really heeding warnings to stay away from their high water," he said as a patrol boat passed by a group of people fishing. "These are all onlookers wanting to experience the flooding situation."

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Kirsten Swanson

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