MONTEVIDEO - After a slow but steady decline since its crest March 30, the Minnesota River will start rising again Wednesday in Montevideo.
The melt from last week's snowstorm and expectations of rain later this week will cause a steady rise in the river starting Wednesday and extending into the weekend, according to new projections from the National Weather Service.
The Minnesota River is expected to rebound to 17 feet by Sunday afternoon in Montevideo, a gain of more than two feet from its level Monday. It will rise to 890 feet on Sunday night in Granite Falls, also a rise of over just over two feet, according to the latest projections.
In Montevideo, the rise will mean that sewer will again have to be turned off to the Smith Addition. The river's rise is expected on Friday to reach the 18-foot level that triggers a shutoff.
The river had crested March 30 at 21.3 feet in Montevideo, and at 893.42 feet in Granite Falls.
While the river will be rising, the increase is tempered by a new weather forecast that shows the upper Minnesota River basin receiving a half-inch to an inch of rain Wednesday through Thursday. Greater amounts of rain are forecast for areas to the east and in the lower Minnesota River basin.
Montevideo Mayor Jim Curtiss said the city has been continuously monitoring the river and keeping its flood defenses in place. He said things have been going well and he does not anticipate any significant issues due to the rebound.
The city shored up its 1969 levee with clay and sandbags this spring. That levee protects the Gravel Road area, as well as nearby businesses along U.S. Highway 212 between the Minnesota River and the intersection with Highways 59/7.
The city intends to rebuild the levee this year and recently received good news on that front. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will increase funding for the city's levee project by $1,862,000. That will make $5,967,000 available for the reconstruction of the 1967 levee, considered the weak link in the city's flood defense. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineer project has enhanced the remainder of the city's levee system.
Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski said the city also has continued to keep its flood protection measures in place and continues to monitor river conditions.