Savanna officials planing for spring flooding

Mississippi River levels predicted to rise

Someone placed an American flag on a pole behind the downtown businesses in Savanna in April 2019 as the Mississippi River's water levels increased forcing business owners to put out sandbags.

SAVANNA — Savanna faces a 25 to 50 percent change of a 21-foot flooding occurrence over the next few weeks, Fire Chief Scott Wolfe and Carroll County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Klinefelter told city officials March 14.

Wolfe and Klinefelter presented current planning efforts in response to NOAA forecasts that predict Savanna is at a 25 to 50 percent chance of a 21-foot flooding event.

For context, the record flood of 1965 was at 23.51 feet, the 2001 flood was at 22.58 feet and the 1993 flood was at 21.50 feet.

Flood stage for Savanna starts at 17 feet. Preparations for the flooding include the request for 36,000 sand bags, along with other equipment including a large pump for Main Street.

Other plans include contacting the prison for potential help in bag filling and preparing business owners for the event, as well as controlling storm drains on Main Street alleys.

Wolfe said barricading side streets and recruiting help for a 24/7 pump watch were also goals to help improve on lessons learned from the 2019 flood.

Wolfe said the anticipated crest date would be around April 14-15.

On March 23, Savanna Mayor Val Gunnarsson sent out an email with slightly revised numbers on the flood chances.

The new numbers, reflecting predictions of NOAA as of March 20, indicated a 50 to 75 percent chance of an 18.5 foot crest, but a 25 to 50 percent chance of a crest under 20 feet. Ground water starts entering basements between 16′ and 17′ and begins entering the back door of the old Ben Franklin at 18.1′, the mayor said

In other action on March 14 the council:

• approved 3.5 percent annual pay rate increases for the administrative and public works departments as well as 4 percent rate increases for department heads.

• approved an intersection solicitor’s license for Heartland pet welfare, to be conducted at the stoplight intersection near McDonald’s on Saturday May 6 from 6:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. There was brief discussion regarding this, due to the fact that state statute permits only such event that are tied into a statewide event.

A member of Heartland commented that other communities like Mt. Carroll had approved similar licenses, and that Savanna had been the only one who had refused in the past. After a motion by Alderman Nick Law, seconded by Sanchez, the council unanimously approved the license.

• approved a resolution to request $85,000 from Representative Eric Sorensen for a community funding project in the form of a microloan, using the Great River Outreach as an administrator, that would allot funds to elderly or financially disadvantaged citizens in need of home repairs.