Rising waters prompt emergency declaration in Afton
Afton has officially declared an emergency.
Afton City Council held an emergency special council meeting Thursday to not only discuss the city’s flood preparations but also to pass a Declaration of State of Emergency.
Afton and other communities on the St. Croix River have found themselves facing rising floodwaters.
Currently, the St. Croix River sits at a height of 87.44 feet, according to the National Weather Service. A minor flood stage for the St. Croix River is 87 feet.
The record height for the St. Croix River is 94 feet.
The St. Croix River is expected to crest this weekend at 87.6 feet, according to predictions.
However, given that the forecast calls for a chance of heavy rain this weekend, a double crest is possible, City Administrator Ron Moorse said.
“The river may come down and if more rains come in it will bounce back up into that 87 range,” he said, “and then it will sit there for a while.”
Afton has already started battling the rising floodwaters by setting up multiple pumps around the city’s levee.
Pumping efforts have cost more than $4,000 so far, Public Works Director Ken Johnson said.
Afton faces a number of problems once the river starts hitting flood stage, including flooded basements, submerged septic systems and flooded marinas.
After some discussion on what possible expenses the city could incur if the river continues to rise, Afton City Council approved $25,000 to be used for flood protection if it should be needed.
City Council also declared a state of emergency since it is necessary if for any Federal Emergency Management Agency expense reimbursements.
Reimbursements will only occur if Washington County as a whole sees flood costs exceed $850,000.