Dayton Holds Flood Meetings In Mankato, Winona

By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton held preparedness meetings in two Minnesota cities in parts of the state that could see major flooding this spring.

The National Weather Service says major flooding is expected along the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix Rivers, which means now is the time to act to try to stop the water before it rises.

At the Mankato National Guard Armory, Dayton spoke to citizens, saying there will be flooding but its unknown just how bad it will get.

“Our job is to respond immediately to that impact, I’m ultimately responsible, I said that today, and I want anybody who is having a problem anywhere in Minnesota to contact me directly,” said Dayton.

Dayton gave the crowd his home phone number and, along with other emergency personnel, encouraged people to buy flood insurance and to start taking inventory of their belongings.

There is a 50 percent chance that the Minnesota River will exceed 30 feet in Mankato, which would be a record. Despite a levy system built to hold 37 feet of water, some citizens are still concerned.

“I’m a little relived but when that water does get really high I may move up to a hotel for a few days,” said Mankato homeowner Jamie Schaffer.

The city of North Mankato also isn’t taking any chances with flood water.

They’re filling sandbags just in case. For an area that lost more than $6 million in public damage in last fall’s floods, there’s no such thing as being too prepared.

“On hand, we have 136,000 sandbags,” said North Mankato street superintendent Brad Swanson. “Just another day preparing for what could come.”

Dayton also spoke with residents in Winona at the American Legion. He was joined by several state officials who deal with emergency management and disaster relief, including Adjutant General Rick Nash of the Minnesota National Guard, as well as local officials.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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