MS river on the rise

BY SUSAN KIM | La Crosse, WI | April 14, 2001

"Evacuation orders for residents could come Tuesday night"

—Lori Getter

Evacuation orders for residents in La Crosse, WI could come Tuesday night as the Mississippi River swells over flood stage, according to Wisconsin emergency management officials.

Some residents in low-lying areas voluntarily evacuated Monday as floodwater began seeping into basements and snow fell in the area.

Officials were closely monitoring the Mississippi River as it threatened the town, according to Lori Getter, public information officer for the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management.

The river, which had already risen more than three feet above its 12-foot flood stage Monday, covered roadways and boat ramps.

Forecasts called for the river near La Crosse to crest at 17 feet early Wednesday, just short of the record 17.9 feet set in 1965. Emergency officials have already barricaded many roads around La Crosse.

Meanwhile residents in Minnesota and North Dakota think that sandbags and levees would hold back the swollen Red River for the time being. "We have not had the amounts of precipitation that were forecasted so the river crests have been lowered down a bit," said Melvin Grilley, director of North Dakota emergency response teams for the United Church of Christ.

The Red River dropped slowly along the Minnesota-North Dakota state line Sunday, where cities have frantically reinforced dikes against flooding.

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