66.7 F
Thursday, July 25, 2024

Officials: Residents in vulnerable areas should be prepared to evacuate

While evacuations of areas along the Des Moines River are not at this point imminent, city of Windom officials are advising residents who live along particularly vulnerable areas along the river and Perkins Creek to be prepared to evacuate.

At an emergency City Council meeting, Mayor Dominic Jones passed along the recommendation that any valuables or important items be moved to vehicles in the event of a necessary quick evacuation.

Jones noted that areas along River Road, 16th Street, Red Leaf Court and Des Moines Drive are particularly vulnerable. He added that rising water levels on Cottonwood Lake also are impacting homes along the lake.

The Windom Fire Department is on standby and will be going door-to-door to notify residents, should the need to evacuate arise.

The council adopted a resolution declaring a state of emergency, which is in effect until July 3. The resolution will be reviewed at the next regular city council meeting on July 2.

Current forecasts for the crest of the Des Moines River are at 26 feet, which would be at roughly an elevation of 1,357.8 feet. However, river measuring gauges upstream are already underwater.

If the river level reaches the forecasted levels, flooding could be seen through portions of downtown and residences from Island Park up to 16th Street.

Additionally, city crews are currently sandbagging around power generators and lift stations. That includes sandbagging around the main power shop along Highway 60/71 at 12th Street.

Volunteer efforts to fill sandbags continue at the Arena, where over 200 tons of sand has been delivered over the past couple of days.

Emergency shelter

Anyone who has been displaced by the flood is encouraged to contact Cottonwood County dispatch or stop by the Law Enforcement Center.

Because of the regional scope of the flooding, the Red Cross has set up a regional shelter at Jackson County Central High School in Jackson. Cottonwood County will provide transportation to the shelter to anyone in need.

Stay away

Police Chief Scott Peterson reminded members of the public that Island Park is closed and no one should be in the park for any reason. Anyone in the park could be cited for trespassing.

Additionally, anyone seen driving around barricades is subject to a ticket.

Street Superintendent Jon Ketzenberg also reminded the public that flood water is not safe, due to the rapidly-moving current. It also isn’t sanitary, as city wastewater has backed up into the river. As a result, Ketzenberg urged people to keep children and pets away from the river.

Flood plain search

The city noted that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a detailed map of the flood plain around the river, with searchable elevation marks.

The web address is: arcgis.dnr.state.mn.us. People can then search lake and flood elevation and can search by address.

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