St .Paul officials meet with residents near flood zoneby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — St. Paul city officials are meeting this week with residents along the Mississippi riverfront to discuss possible evacuation plans in the case of extreme flooding.
City officials are encouraging residents of the Upper Landing development to make plans now for other places to stay if the buildings need to be evacuated. Even though the 600 or so homes are likely to remain dry, floodwater could overtax the sewer system to the point where utilities would need to be shut off.
Resident Sandra Dobbins says she'll start calling family members about possibly staying with them. Dobbins says she feels a little nervous about the idea of leaving her home.
"Just how long I would have to be out of my unit, and how safe it would be here with nobody being here in the building," she said.
Rick Larkin is the city of St. Paul's director of emergency management. He says there's still potential for the Mississippi River to rise to the record-setting levels of 1965, but that scenario is much less likely.
"We're tempering the news, but we're seeing it as good news for now," said Larkin. "This cold weather looks like it will slow the melt and decrease the height of the flood for now."
The cold snap coming the rest of this week could help the situation in St. Paul. Weather experts are backing off earlier predictions of a record-setting flood for now, but warn that snow and rain could complicate the forecast.