WABASHA, Minn. (FOX 47) – The Mississippi River continues to rise, which creates the possibility of flooding from Hastings to La Crescent.
The city of Wabasha is under a flood warning until further notice. The flood stage there is 12 feet, but as of Monday afternoon it is at 12.6 feet. Even though that classifies as minor flooding right now, it is expected to increase to moderate by mid-week.
Some homes and businesses around town are already preparing for the worst. Slippery’s Tavern, a popular restaurant nestled on the banks of the Mississippi, is closed until further notice. A concrete barrier was recently installed to keep water from filtering into the business.
Meanwhile, the city has plans to meet with the Red Cross sometime this week to talk about opening shelters if people’s homes are effected, and they need to be relocated.
“We’re really kind of worried about the ice that’s still on the lake and how that might affect… when the water rushes in with ice on top. That can cause significantly more damage than just regular water running through,” said Tammy Fielder, the public health director for Wabasha County.
Wabasha County has also held two meetings to prepare for potential flooding. Sandbags are available for 25 cents at the Public Health Department window for anyone who needs them.
The National Weather Service expects the Mississippi to rise an additional three feet in Wabasha by Sunday night, bringing the total to 15 feet, which is considered moderate flooding.
Meanwhile, upstream in Hastings, that city is also under a flood warning until further notice. They are experiencing moderate flooding as of Monday afternoon, but that is expected to turn into major flooding. The water level is 17.3 feet, which is two feet higher than it should be.
With that in mind, workers at King’s Cove Marina are busy launching boats ahead of the major floodwaters. “Every flood I’m concerned. It’s always a question of whether or not we’re able to respond to it. So, as an example, I started ice breaking two weeks ago to open up this bay to launch these boats,” said Bill King, who owns King’s Cove Marina in Hastings. They’re trying to get 10 to 15 boats in the marina per day. Since Friday, they’ve done about 20, but have 70 more to go.
Right now, the city of Hastings could see water rise to 20 feet by Sunday night, if not higher. They have not seen flooding that bad since 2001 when the water reached 22 feet.