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Hastings starts flood preparations after National Weather Service forecast

With snowbanks along streets reaching more than 4 feet high in some areas, city of Hastings staff asks residents to help clear drains to help prevent flooding. Kelsey Roy / RiverTown Multimedia

The city of Hastings and U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers is preparing for the possibility of major flooding with this week's warming temperatures and potential rainfall.

Last week the Hastings Public Works Department began making preparations after the National Weather Service predicted Hastings to have over a 50 percent chance of major flooding, according to Public Works Director Nick Egger.

Public works is currently working on acquiring materials and supplies for residents along the Mississippi River who might need help. The department has also put together a communication plan and has started reaching out to people who volunteered in 2011, the last time Hastings went through a major flood event.

The steps being taken are precautionary for the moment, as forecasts can and will most likely change, Egger added.

"The National Weather Service will put out another projection in a couple days and we'll see if things are still trending in the same direction," Egger said. "As the saying goes it's not our first rodeo. We have a good handle on it."

At Lock and Dam No. 2, the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers began preparing sandbags.

With warm temperatures expected this week, the city asked residents to lend a helping hand to make sure melting snow can get where it needs to go.

"What we would graciously ask of the community, if they know where their street drains are, that neighbors shovel out around the drains so that water can get to those drains. Anything at all that people can do to help is much appreciated," Egger said.

Citywide there are roughly 3,000 drains on public streets, which is too many for department staff to attend to, Egger said. The department is aware of certain problem areas, but encourages people to call if they see a spot that is concerning.