Flood update: River's crest delayed until Thursday
Floodwaters aren't expected to spill over an aging levee in the city of Newport when the Mississippi River crests this week, but officials and homeowners will still hold their breath with more than three weeks left before the typical high point of spring flood season arrives.
The river is expected to crest Thursday evening, according to a revised National Weather Service forecast released Monday afternoon, more than a day later than originally predicted.
The latest forecast calls for floodwaters to rise to 19.5 feet above normal at St. Paul. That equates to just below the top of the 800-foot-long earthen levee running along Cedar Lane in north Newport that sits roughly 700 feet above sea level, said public works director Bruce Hanson.
Last week, Hanson said he anticipated floodwaters would top the levee, which the city has said it will not sandbag to fight back floodwaters because of liability concerns.
By Monday afternoon, Hanson said he didn't expect the river to reach the levee's summit -- but the city and residents near the deteriorating 40-year-old dike will still have their fingers crossed.
"One big storm can change that, though," Hanson warned.
Dry conditions are forecast for the next week, helping mitigate the river's rise.
Homeowners, apparently, are taking their chances -- no sandbags have been requested by any of the more than 40 homes that sit in the floodplain. The city said last week it would provide sandbags to residents, but would supply no labor. Residents are on their own to keep floodwaters out of their homes should the levee fail.
Residents can call Newport Public Works to request sandbags. Call the public works department at (651) 459-2475.
Historical river crests in Newport (Top of levee: 700 ft. above sea level)
706.1 ft. -- 4/16/1965
703.5 ft. -- 4/15/1969
701.6 ft. -- 4/18/2001
701.4 ft. -- 4/30/2001