Before breaching the banks, Andalusia residents prepare thousands of sandbags

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Many river towns are working to waterproof their community as the Mississippi River is on the rise and Andalusia is no exception.

They’ve already closed a few streets and have pumps on standby.

A community is also coming together to prepare for the rising tide.

It’s as the National Weather Service says they’re forecasting the Mississippi River here in Andalusia to surpass major flood stage comes early next week and the city says they don’t want to be caught off guard. That’s why their goal is to fill 3,000 of these sandbags before the worst hits.

Andalusia Public Works Director Justin Parchert said, “We have plenty of sand and plenty of sandbags.”

It was a message sent out this week to neighbors in the city of Andalusia.

Resident Stacey Schmidtke said, “People called me, ‘come help.'”

And Stacey Schmidtke is one of the people filling, knotting and loading up hundreds of sandbags to create a line of defense so water can’t seep into where she calls home.

Schmidtke said, “It’s scary for me, but I’m helping other people too.”

It’s because this river town knows all too well about disastrous flooding. 

Parchert said, “You hear the historic floods of ’65 and the horror stories of that and of course ’93, I was young enough where I just came down to watch them sandbag, and now I’m in charge of it.”

Part of the need for this operation is this weekend isn’t the only chance this spring the Mississippi River could broach their town.

Parchert said, “This first wave here coming in at 18 something, not a huge call for sandbags yet but we’re preparing for the worst in the future weeks to come.”

Now, it’s just keeping an eye on the forecast because it’s predictable for being unpredictable. 

Parchert said, “We’ve had our fair share of floods but nothing to this magnitude and hopefully it doesn’t get there.”

The city told Local 4 News they’re still looking for more volunteers to help come and fill sandbags March 16. They’re going to start that effort at 8 in the morning at the public works building across from the grade school. 

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