Archive for Thursday, June 9, 2011

City of Leavenworth anticipates flooding in coming days, protecting structures with sandbags

June 9, 2011

Leavenworth officials are taking steps to protect its buildings along the Missouri River as more rain is expected this weekend that would add to near record-breaking flood levels that are being predicted.

The City of Leavenworth has received its order of large sand bags, as workers were filling those Thursday morning for placement along the east side of the Riverfront Community Center. The building, at Esplanade and Shawnee streets, is just west of the Missouri River.

The bags measure 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet in size and five bags are assembled into a unit equivalent to more than 750 conventional sand bags.

“The Big Bags are going to be our first and hopefully only line of protection in the rising river levels near the Riverfront Community Center,” Public Works Director Michael McDonald said. “We plan to line two rows of those bags up this week, which should protect through the projected flood range. We’ll just wait and see if we’ll need to add anything beyond that.”

The flood stage is currently at 20.6 feet, but the National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are predicting for levels to reach 22.3 feet by Monday.

City officials are estimating levels to be 25.5 feet by the end of next week and with those numbers in mind, the City has also made plans to evacuate the Riverfront Campground early next week, with the city’s animal shelter, the City Airport at Sherman Field and the wastewater treatment plant not far behind.

“Because of the pending evacuation of the Leavenworth Animal Control Shelter, we are significantly cutting back the number of material donations or animals we can receive at this time,” Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens said. “Animal Control will also cease all adoptions on Thursday, June 9, as well, as staff starts the process of packing up their offices.”

Flooded areas are expected to be inundated for several months and city officials plan to continue to meet and monitor river levels throughout the season.

As communities along the river experience unprecedented flows out of the Missouri River main stem reservoirs, the Army Corps of Engineers in the Omaha District wants to ensure they are provided with accurate and up-to-date information in a timely fashion. The Army Corps of Engineers has established a Joint Information Center for Missouri River flooding. The public can email questions to the center at MRJIC@usace.army.mil or by calling (402) 996-3877.

During any flood response activities throughout the basin, the Corps will also provide regular updates directly to the public via Facebook and Twitter (OmahaUSACE).

Daily and forecasted reservoir and river information can be viewed on the Water Management section of the Northwestern Division homepage at www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc.

For more local flood and emergency information, visit the City of Leavenworth’s website www.lvks.org and check out its Facebook (City of Leavenworth) and Twitter (First_City) pages. The public can also contact the Leavenworth County Emergency Management Office at (913) 684-0455.

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