Cities near the Mississippi, prep for flooding - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Cities near the Mississippi, prep for flooding

WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Flood preparations are taking place across communities in Southeastern Minnesota that border the mighty Mississippi. The National Weather Service is predicting the river could rise higher than 21 feet in some cities.

Bag after Bag is being filled with sand to make sure communities like Wabasha don't flood this spring.

"With this bagger we can average out a 100-150 and hour. This morning we already have 1,200-1,300 bags so it's been working out good. Less man power and a little bit easier," said Terry Timm, with Wabasha Public Works.

City officials tell us they hope to Fill more than 15,000 sandbags by next Monday, before the sandbagging machine travels to a community down river.

"We put together 4,000 - 5,000 sandbags for closure of minor structures," explained Keith Nelson, Winona Public Works.

No amount of sandbags could save part of Winona from being swept away in flood waters. The city is built upon a sand bar. Nelson told us levees are key.

"The levee system we have in place is designed very well, to go up to 22-feet. It has an additional 2 to 3 feet above that off free board," said Nelson.

Concrete and earthen levees border the river. Nelson said the city should be safe as long as the levees hold.

"If the levee wasn't here you'd have a third to half of a city under water, so we take it very seriously," said Nelson.

If flooding should arise, crews will closely monitor water levels and the levees.

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