Flood predicted to be lower; Red Wing still prepares for high watersThe latest predictions from the National Weather Service, released Thursday, show flooding along the Mississippi River to be less severe than originally thought.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
The latest predictions from the National Weather Service, released Thursday, show flooding along the Mississippi River to be less severe than originally thought.
Overall, predictions have lowered the crest by about a foot. This is due in large part to the recently cooler temperatures, which have slowed melting.
However, there is still a 10 to 50 percent chance of nearing the record flooding levels of 1965, when the river crested at 20.7 feet.
As of Friday morning, the river was at 10.13 feet and is forecast to reach 15 feet - moderate flood stage - next Friday.
"We're still watching the weather and river forecast, but we're feeling a little better about it now," Red Wing Deputy Director of Public Works Lynn Nardinger said.
The new predictions also show the possibility of a double crest, with the river cresting the week of March 30, and then dropping the next week before cresting again the week of April 13 at around 15 feet.
Not out of the woods
But even with lower water levels predicted, the city is staying the course with its flood preparations. Nardinger said the new predictions won't change any plans already in place.
On Friday afternoon, crews closed Levee Road. Colvill Park could close Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, depending on river readings. Bay Point Park will remain open this weekend, but could close next week, Nardinger said.
Treasure Island Resort & Casino is also betting on high water. Cindy Taube, spokeswoman for the casino, said emergency response teams have been meeting on a regular basis since the National Weather Service first predicted record flood levels weeks ago.
But with the lower predictions this week, Taube said the casino hasn't changed its flood strategy either. Sand bagging continues around the casino and a dike system is in place, Taube said.
"We're prepared," she said. "We feel very good. We've done every thing we can do to prepare."
The casino expects to remain open throughout the flooding, Taube said.
Meanwhile, Red Wing Shoe Co. is also preparing for high water. At a Red Wing Manufacturers' Association meeting earlier this month, Chuck Caverly said the Shoe would have trouble operating without its employees from Wisconsin, should the major roads crossing the river close.
Nardinger said the Shoe filled out a private use of public property form Thursday, requesting permission to place campers and motor homes in a lot by the plant on Potter Street. This would allow their workers to stay on this side of the river should river crossings close.
The new, lower predictions don't necessarily mean the city can breath a sigh of relief just yet.
"Looking back at the historical 1965 and 2001 flood events, the flooding in those years was also not expected to be too severe," the National Weather Service said in its latest flood statement.
A fast snow melt and any rain could change the predictions again - and not for the better. "It's wait and see," Nardinger said.