Weather Service warns of increased chance of flooding in Montevideo and Granite Falls
MONTEVIDEO -- A newly issued forecast raises the potential for flood problems along the Minnesota River in Montevideo and Granite Falls this spring.
In a word, the new forecast issued by the National Weather Service in Chanhassen "increases'' the risk for flooding from the season's first forecast issued three weeks earlier, according to hydrologist Diane Cooper.
The new forecast shows an 80 percent probability that flood waters would reach the 18 foot level in Montevideo, the point at which waters could affect the sanitary sewer system and lead city officials to urge some residents in the Smith Addition and Gravel Road areas to prepare to evacuate.
The potential for reaching a level over 23.1 feet -- as experienced in 2001 -- is eight percent. The probability for flooding in Granite Falls is significant as well.
There is a 75 percent probability of reaching the 889-foot level, and a four percent probability of reaching the 899 foot level experienced in 1997.
Cooper was still preparing the details of the new forecast on Friday, and said she hopes to have a more complete analysis available for public review on Monday.
The high water content in the snowpack in the watershed of the upper Minnesota River basin remains the cause for concern.
Weather Service officials are warning again that the risk of ice jams is elevated this spring as well.
City officials in Montevideo met last week to begin flood preparations. There are already plans to fill sandbags to have at the ready as soon as there is sand thawed and available, according to Mayor Jim Curtiss.
City officials in Granite Falls are holding a staff meeting this coming week to develop flood preparations.
Residents in flood-prone areas in the upper Minnesota River basin are being encouraged to investigate flood insurance, and reminded that there is a 30-day waiting period before it is effective.
The current forecast shows a 99 percent probability of the Minnesota River reaching minor flood stage of 14 feet in Montevideo as early as March 16.