Friday morning began with nearly 30 city and county leaders crowded into the Benton County Supervisors meeting room, for an emergency discussion of how to respond to the impending flood and how to communicate important details to the public.

Benton County Emergency Management Director Scott Hansen will prepare a press release shortly to cover some details.

The most recent flood forecast remains at a crest of 22.1 feet, predicted for around midnight on Sunday.

Hansen told the officials gathered this morning that another heavy rain like the one much of Benton County received last night could significantly add to the flood’s impact.

Hansen’s release will include information about sand bags, the potential closing of the Highway 150 bridge that leads north out of Vinton, and other flood issues. Officials believe a Sunday morning closing of that bridge is likely, based on current flood forecasts. Area residents should be able to detour through County Home Road  to Urbana; the bridge south of Urbana was open in 2008 until the river level exceeded 23 feet.

One positive note from Friday’s meeting is that with the Hesco barriers and other flood-resisting changes made since 2008, the Vinton Municipal Electric Utility should be able to continue to provide power. A blackout in Vinton was a major issue during the 2008 flood.