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Most of the trail through Levee Park was covered in water Thursday. (Star Gazette photos by Katrina Styx)
Most of the trail through Levee Park was covered in water Thursday. (Star Gazette photos by Katrina Styx)

Flood was major downtown attraction last week

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news Hastings, 55033

Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

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.

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“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.

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