Weather Forecast


Flood was major downtown attraction last week

Most of the trail through Levee Park was covered in water Thursday. (Star Gazette photos by Katrina Styx)1 / 9
Several people visited the Mississippi Riverfront to see the flood for themselves.2 / 9
Some of the benches in Jaycee Park, normally several feet above the river, found themselves right at the water level.3 / 9
North of the river, the new underpass under Highway 61 was deep under water.4 / 9
The river closed First Street under the railroad bridge, rising high enough to top even the guard rail at its lowest point.5 / 9
Flood water rose enough to submerge the bottom of the historical high water marker in Levee Park, although it was still several feet from reaching the record-setting flood of 1965.6 / 9
A truck drives through the shallow water that covered the driveway into the east parking lot at the city’s public boat ramp in Jaycee Park.7 / 9
Lock and Dam Road had water flowing over its low point, blocking access to Lock and Dam No. 2.8 / 9
9 / 9

The Hastings riverfront was a popular spot this past week, despite several signs warning people to stay back.

Extensive rainfall throughout the state poured into the Mississippi River, swelling its banks to unusual heights in Hastings. The flood crested Friday at 19.1 feet, making it the seventh-worst flood in recorded history, according to National Weather Service records.

“We’ve seen levels like this before, but it’s been awhile,” said Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks.

The river reached 18.9 feet in June of 1993 and the next highest was in April of 1952, when the river reached 20.9 feet. Most recently, Hastings saw the river rise to 22 feet in April of 2001. That year, water from the river covered the banks in Jaycee Park and ran into Lake Rebecca, causing concern that the fishing stock in the lake could be affected. The 2001 flood also caused considerable damage to the Hastings hydroelectric plant, located in the lock and dam complex.

The worst flood in Hastings was in April of 1965, when it crested at 25.9 feet. That flood is memorialized with a high water mark in Levee Park.

Although no residents used them, sandbags were available to help protect riverfront homes threatened by high water. The city was prepared to provide sandbags with the help of volunteers through the Bless Hastings group, Hicks said.

Once floodwaters recede, city staff will be making their way through those public areas affected by high water to assess the damage and identify the next step, Hicks said. Assessments are being done at the state level around Minnesota as well, he said.

Water measurements on the Mississippi River in Hastings are taken at the tailwater of Lock and Dam No. 2. River forecasts take into account past precipitation as well as precipitation expected about 24 hours into the future from the time the forecast is issued.

Katrina Styx

Katrina Styx started working at the Hastings Star Gazette 2010 as a reporter. She became the editor in 2016. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in journalism from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. Prior to coming to Hastings, Katrina reported for weekly newspapers in Jordan, Minn., and River Falls, Wis.

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