Weather Forecast


Cold weather lowers flood worries

A backhoe works Friday afternoon to break an ice jam in the Crow River along Bridge Avenue in downtown Delano. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)

MONTEVIDEO -- Flood worries in the Upper Minnesota River basin have gone down a notch thanks to cold temperatures that have slowed the snowmelt.

An updated flood forecast issued Friday by the National Weather Service predicts the Minnesota River will crest Monday and Tuesday in Montevideo and Granite Falls at levels similar to those experienced last year.

In Montevideo, the crest is expected at 18.2 feet Monday night. That's about the level at which sanitary sewer services to the Smith Addition would need to be stopped, but city officials are hopeful that may not be necessary.

The city is also hopeful it will not need to build a temporary levee on U.S. Highway 212, south of the community.

The forecast is encouraging, but city officials remain cautious. Mayor Debra Lee Fader said a "better safe than sorry'' attitude is guiding officials as they monitor water levels.

The Minnesota River in Granite Falls is projected to crest at 891.5 feet Tuesday night. A portion of the river waters may begin flowing down an overflow channel that runs west and south of the community at that level, and waters could reach a portion of Minnesota Highway 67, south of the community.

The cold temperatures have slowed the melt, but that also serves to prolong the time at which river levels will remain high. The Weather Service is advising that there is likelihood for snow and rain in southern Minnesota next week, and that raises the possibility for a second crest on the rivers.

Meanwhile, waters in the lower basin of the Minnesota River have continued to rise. In Delano, the Weather Service warned that the South Fork of the Crow River was likely to reach its 1997 level Saturday night or Sunday.

The Weather Service has also upgraded the probability for reaching record flood stage in the Fargo-Moorhead area on the Red River.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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