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Newport declares state of emergency, ready to tackle flooding

Newport Mayor Dan Lund declared a state of emergency at the March 21 City Council meeting. Council approved the measure, which was enacted due to the potential for severe flooding from the nearby Mississippi River.

March 29, the Mississippi River at St. Paul had risen to 705.6 inches.

The emergency declaration gives the city more flexibility when it comes to hiring outside contractors or renting extra equipment to deal with flooding and cleanup. They can also recoup some of the costs and seek state and federal aid.

Emergency management officials from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office have been meeting with the city.

“This isn’t the first rodeo for the cities especially for Newport,” Sheriff Dan Starry said recently.  “They understand some of the issues they’ve had in the past regarding flooding. We want to make sure we’re good partners.”

The day of the meeting, Bruce Hanson, director of public works for Newport, said they’ve got 20,000 sandbags and 100,000 pounds of sand. They’re available for residents at the city’s public works facility at 1100 Bailey Road.

“We’ve got our action levels where we shut off storm sewers where it can’t back up,” he said. “We’ve got our protection systems as far as sandbags. Pumps are set up and ready to go if we need them."

The river is expected to crest around March 28.

"Right now we’re prepared for the 10-day outlook," Hanson said. "It’s kind of a sit and wait-see mode right now."

Updates are available on the City's website http://www.ci.newport.mn.us/ as well as their  Facebook page. Residents can also contact Public Works at 651-459-2475.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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