River crest expected at 18.6 feet, which is 3.6 feet above flood stage
The Mississippi River at Hastings is expected to reach flood stage Friday, March 19, and continue rising through the middle of next week.
In its latest flood warning update, as of March 16, the National Weather Service in Chanhassen is forecasting the river will reach flood stage of 15 feet by Friday. As of 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 16, the river was at 12.6 feet, an increase of more than two feet since Monday morning.
If the river reaches flood stage, the First Street railroad underpass begins to flood. That's it.
But in an effort to stay up to date, the city of Hastings will monitor the river levels and consider appropriate actions, Hastings Public Works Director Tom Montgomery told the Hastings City Council.
The National Weather Service predicts the river will continue to rise to a crest between 18 feet and 19 feet. Additional increases in the water level are possible after next week.
At the flood stage of 17 feet, water will be over the rip rap at Levee Park; at 18 feet, water is over the rip rap at Jaycee Park and may start to impact the basements of some of the homes on East First Street.
The Public Works, Parks, Police and Fire departments will coordinate efforts and close roads, trails and parks as appropriate. No city structures are expected to be impacted by flooding except for some structures in Lake Rebecca Park.
In the two most recent floods, 2001 and 1997, the city helped some homeowners on East First Street by providing empty sand bags and sand. Several employees and skid loaders moved pallets of filled sand bags to areas around the homes where they were needed.
Volunteers filled the bags and placed them. No city employees were used to fill bags.
If the flood stage reaches 16.5 feet and the forecast at the time is predicting levels to exceed 18 feet, then the city would use $10,000 from the critical incident equipment revolving funds to buy sand bags and other materials necessary to protect the homes.
The Mississippi River reached its highest level during the 1965 flood - 25.9 feet. Four years later, it reached 24.3 feet.
In 2001, the river actually had two crests, one at 21.6 feet April 17, and one at 22 feet April 29.