NWS: Cedar River just shy of record (update with video)Published 10:32am Friday, September 24, 2010
By AMANDA LILLIE, TRISHA MARCZAK AND TREY MEWES
Austin residents woke this morning to school and work cancellations after the Cedar River flooded overnight.
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The Cedar River is expected to reach 20.59 feet today, according to the National Weather Service. That will put the river into the major flood stage, which is set at 20 feet. The record was set at 23.3 feet, according to the NWS.
The Cedar River in Austin at around 7 a.m. today was at 19.8 feet — well above the river’s flood stage level, according to the National Weather Service. Throughout the day, the river is expected to go down. The NWS has predicted the river to be at 19.4 feet at 7 p.m. and 16 feet at 1 a.m. Saturday.
The Cedar River was under a warning Thursday afternoon, but was not expected at that point to reach the flood stage, which was set at 15 feet, according to the NWS. The river was expected to reach a high point of 14.7 feet by 7 a.m. Friday.
Flooding from the Cedar River has poured out onto North Main Street, shutting down the portion of the road between Mill Pond and Hormel South. Austin schools called off Friday classes late Thursday night.
Police Chief Brian Krueger said Friday morning that several roads in town are barricaded, including: near Bandshell Park, Budget Oil, Oakland Ave. and Oakland Pl. near 12th St.
“Damage seems to be quite low at this point,” Krueger said. “We’re hoping for the best.”
Krueger said it is imperative that people do not cross the barricades, whether by foot or by vehicle. He said it is especially important that parents keep their children out of the flooded areas, even just standing water.
“It’s not a good idea to play in the water,” Krueger said. “The current is definitely there and (children) may not realize that.”
One family from the Wild Wood Park neighborhood west of Hormel Corporate Office was displaced from their home due to flooding, according to Elaine Hansen, executive director of Mower County Red Cross. They are receiving temporary shelter through MCRC.
Disaster assessment teams from MCRC gathered information on the severity of the flood Friday morning. Hansen said the teams had yet to report in as of press time.
Krueger said that residents living in the area of Austin where Turtle Creek runs into town were advised to vacate their homes last night. Residents of the apartment complex behind Jerry’s Other Place just north of Hormel Corporate were also advised to vacate, according to Krueger.