County prepares for spring floodingPierce County officials know there’s going to be some spring flooding. The question is: How much?
Pierce County officials know there’s going to be some spring flooding. The question is: How much?
“It’s very difficult to predict,” said Emergency Management Director Gary Brown Monday, March 21. “It all depends on the rate of melt and temperature.”
He said the worst case scenario is if temperatures are warm all day, which would cause the flood levels to rise quickly.
“Any moisture would be bad as well,” he said.
If temperatures are around freezing, which was predicted for later this week, it would slow the melting levels.
Brown said the National Weather Service is predicting Hastings, Minn., would reach flood stage the morning of Friday, March 25, while Red Wing, Minn., will crest Monday, March 28. He added that the Mississippi River portion of Pierce County is in a flood warning through the morning of Tuesday, March 29.
“Who really knows what could happen?” he said.
He then talked about the two likely flooding spots in the county -- Hwy. 63 going into Red Wing and Hwy. 10 in Prescott.
Hwy. 63 was raised after the 1997 floods and water would have to reach around 18.5 feet for the road to be flooded, he explained. State officials told Brown the road will not be raised again and, if it has to be closed, traffic will be diverted to Prescott or Wabasha, Minn. He also advised residents or sightseers to stay away from the area if water does reach flood stage.
Hwy. 10, based on projections, will likely remain open, he said. He added it’s likely roads within the city of Prescott will be closed at some point, but none were as of Monday.
Brown explained several options are available to receive the most current information about the floods. The county website at www.pierce.co.wi.us has a link to flood information including current safety information, resources and flood news. The recorded “Pierce County Information Line” at 715-273-6847 will have current information available 24 hours/day. If any major road closures do occur, the county will use all available media sources possible to minimize transportation difficulties.
Citizens are also encouraged to call the emergency management office at 715-273-6751 to report damages from the flooding event. This information is important as the county moves forward with the damage assessment process.
If needing to report an emergency, call 911. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army have cleanup kits available to assist in cleaning activities. Contact the emergency management office if needing these cleaning supplies.
The Pierce County Public Health Department is urging flood victims to take the following health and safety precautions:
•If a private well is submerged by flood waters, do not drink the water. Wait until the waters recede, disinfect the well, then sample the well for bacteria. Sample kits are available from the health department.
•If a private septic system is submerged by flood waters, allow the water to recede prior to use.
•Mold can be an issue in homes as flood waters recede. Any porous materials that cannot be dried in 48 hours should be discarded.
The Pierce County Solid Waste Department can assist with any questions regarding disposal of flood-damaged materials. Call solid waste at 715-273-3092 for assistance with these issues.
For further flood information, Brown said, call Pierce County Emergency Management at 715-273-6751.