River towns cross fingers
MONTEVIDEO -- Minor flooding is expected along the Minnesota River by the end of the week, but officials in communities along the river and its tributaries are not expecting any serious problems.
City officials reached by the Tribune said they are keeping a "watchful eye'' on water levels and weather forecasts. They are cautiously optimistic that they will avoid serious problems. There were some anxious moments early Tuesday in Maynard. Ice jams near the city cemetery and at another point downstream caused Hawk Creek to begin rising over its banks near the city park on the south side of U.S. Highway 212.
The waters began to recede later in the day, and residents heaved a sigh of relief, according to City Clerk Kathy Howard.
Waters have spilled over the banks along the Chippewa River in Lagoon Park in Montevideo. Rising waters on the Minnesota River have also forced the closing of some of the smaller, lightly-traveled roads along the river near Montevideo.
City Manager Steve Jones said the National Weather Service is projecting that the river will crest at 16.5 feet on Friday. That is considered a minor to moderate flood level. The river is expected to remain at that level well into next week. Jones said the flooding is no cause for alarm, but city officials will continue to closely monitoring the situation. Barring a major rain event in the near future, he does not believe the city will need to begin emergency sandbagging activities. Flood water would have to exceed the crest now being projected by nearly three feet before serious problems would develop, he noted.
That's very much the case downstream in Granite Falls as well, where the river is also expected to crest at minor to moderate flood stage or 889.0 feet on Saturday.
Waters are expected to lap over a low portion of the alleyway behind City Hall on Saturday, said City Manager Bill Lavin. He said that the waters would have to exceed the projected crest by three feet to reach the back doors of the City Hall. The Lac qui Parle River in Dawson was expected to crest either Tuesday night or sometime this morning, said Melva Larson, city clerk. The waters were not expected to cause significant problems.
She said people in the community who have had water problems in their basements in previous flood years have been advised to move things upstairs.
Projected crest Flood crest April 4, 1967
16.5 feet Friday 23.9 feet April 6, 1997
889.0 feet Saturday 899.30 feet April 9, 1997