From this morning’s council update:
Thanks to Brian Edwards, Incident Command Officer, and the rest of his team for all their work overnight. Declaring a local emergency puts many wheels in motion coordinating emergency response across jurisdictions and departments; all activities are coordinated through the emergency operations center in the city hall council chambers under the ICO’s direction. Police, fire, hospital/emergency medical, Rice County, MNDoT, state incident management team officials, MN Army National Guard, and of course, city staff are part of the effort. These people have worked through the night coordinating communication and operations; please give them your thanks and your cooperation.
The priorities for this “event” (which is how we describe it) are:
- Safety of people and traffic
- Preserving property and infrastructure
- Tracking actions and costs
- Interoperability and communication among all the entitites noted above
- Demobilization or shifting from protecting property and preventing flooding to clean-up operations
About the water itself: There aren’t completely accurate numbers on water levels due to some malfunctioning equipment and conflicting reports, but the rough and ready measurement was the water was 3″ higher overnight with the possibility of a second crest later today. After a flyover of the river last night, the news is: there’s “a lot of water.” The good news is there were no large trees or other debris which can cause surges of water.
Other notes: Northfield’s wastewater treatment plant is still operating, but Faribault and Owatonna are shut down. No update on the level of contamination in the water, but please stay out of floodwaters. Drinking water is safe and concerns about watermains on the 2nd and 5th street bridges have passed. Byllesby Dam is as “undammed” as possible to allow maximum flow. Electricity and gas shutoffs have occurred for some downtown properties.
What you can do:
- Stay away from those areas of downtown which have been cordoned off. The 2nd, 4th and 5th street bridges are closed to ALL (vehicle and pedestrian) traffic. Bridge Square and Water Street from 4th to 5th are closed. Access will be allowed to the Post Office, but otherwise people will not be allowed into this area. MNDoT has a map of road closures – Highways 19 and 3 are closed.
- Volunteers will be needed when cleanup begins, so stay tuned for how you can help. Some additional sandbagging may be necessary in a few locations, but again, we don’t have specifics yet.
- Follow local media KYMN, Northfield News, and northfield.org. Carleton College also maintains an information page and Locally Grown has been updating information and posting photos. The City website has limited information on its home page. NOTE: all media requests for official information must go to the Public Information Officer (the Mayor at this time). UPDATE: CONTACT THE MAYOR AT 612-741-7713