Minnesota flooding updates for Monday, April 4

Posted at 4:45 PM on April 4, 2011 by Jon Gordon

AT A GLANCE: Fargo-Moorhead bridges closing.... Moorhead sandbag delivery starts Tuesday... Red River rising at Fargo to near-record by early next week... Second Minnesota River crest this week will cause problems for Montevideo.... Stress and flowers.


4:45PM: Near-record flooding approaches on the Red


By late Sunday or early Monday, the Red River at Fargo is forecast to hit 39 feet, putting the Red near the record crests of 1997 and 2009.

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Flood defenses are being built to about 44 feet around Fargo-Moorhead.

The city of Fargo reports the North Broadway Bridge between 37th Avenue North and Clay County Highway 22, is closed due to the rising river. On Tuesday the cities will close the 12th Ave. North bridge over the Red.

Moorhead needs volunteers Tuesday and throughout the week for sandbag dike building.

Minnesota River worries, round 2

A second Minnesota River crest is expected this week and that's worrying residents of Montevideo in southwest Minnesota.MPR News reporter Mark Steil writes:
The Minnesota is forecast to crest on Wednesday a foot and a half higher than last week's initial peak. City Manager Steven Jones says the new crest means the city will discontinue sewage service to about 20 homes in flood prone Smith's addition. Portable toilets will be placed in the neighborhood, he expects most residents will stay in their homes.

Jones also says the city has not yet made a decision on whether to build a 1500 foot long temporary levee on Highway 212.

"You know this is going to be our second peak," says Jones. "Maybe it's the last peak, that's our hope."Jones says one plus for the city is that expected weekend rains did not occur. There is a forecast for more rain though later in the week.

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Crow River at Mayer and Delano could cause problems

The Crow River isn't getting much ink right now, but the worries are out there for the river west of the Twin Cities metro.

"The second round of crests is expected to begin this week in the Minnesota and Crow River basins. At this time the area most impacted will be the Crow River at Mayer reaching 17.4' on the 8th and Delano reaching 21.2' (about a foot higher than the first crest) on the 9th." Homeland Security officials reported this afternoon.

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The river is currently at 17.35 ft. According to the current forecast, the river should reach a second crest of 19.5 ft by Monday, April 11.

In St. Paul, officials the current forecast calls for the Mississippi River to rise from 17 feet to 19.5 feet by next Monday. Defenses are in place up to 23 feet.

Road closures -- and one opening!

Flooding closed Hwy 67 today in western Minnesota between Granite Falls and Yellow Medicine County Road and Highway 212 between Montevideo and Granite Falls.

Better news: The Star Tribune reports Mn/DOT has reopened both directions of Highway 41 spanning the Minnesota River in Chaska. It's among the the south metro's busiest river crossings, but it could close again depending on the second crest.

Stress and flowers

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Mara Solberg and her husband Warren live on their farm in Horace, N.D., south of Fargo. They're part of MPR's Public Insight Network and have been giving us a personal look at the challenges they face as the Wild Rice River swells its banks about 300 feet from their home.

Mara today sent us two photos of the bridge that leads to their farm.
Here's what it looked like in February:
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and here's what it looked like today:
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"The river by the bridge came up 28" since last night at 7 so things are starting to get going," Mara wrote us. "We cleaned out the garage, put things up on the deck, and went to town to get medicine, batteries,etc. we need during the flood.

"We decided this time to stay and not try to drive through the water on the road this year. Its just too much work to get the tractor ready. If there is an emergency, there is help available.

"I felt grateful, because I won't be home alone during the day at all. I am sending a picture of the bridge as it looks today and also of the flowers I bought to help me make it through this. I am already stressed, but I feel so calm seeing the flowers in my kitchen!"
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8:30AM: Rivers remain vulnerable to flooding


MPR's Phil Picardi reports this morning: The National Weather Service says moderate temperatures this week may mean a slow melt for the northern Minnesota snow pack. Meterologist Chris Franks says temperatures will hover around 50s during the day in southern Minnesota and in the 40s in northern regions of the state. It'll stay above freezing at night, even climbing to the lower 40s in the south.

"What we're seeing now is bout the best case scenario. Just how wet we were going into it -- to have this type of flooding is about as good as you can ask for. so It really has been a surprise and I think a pleasant surprise for a lot of people," Franks adds that if the trend continues, the second crest expected for the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers may not be as high as the first.

Red forecast to rise this week

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"Flooding is expected to start changing things in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks by the middle of this week, and bridges across the Red River are slated to be closed by the weekend," (Grand Forks Herald).

Mississippi to rise again

Flood waters continue to recede on the Mississippi in St. Paul, but are expected to begin rising again Wednesday. St. Paul Minnesota Photo credit: NJV on Flickr

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What do you do with 5 million sandbags after the flood waters recede?

The waters will recede at some point, even if it takes until May. Many of the sandbags filled throughout the region will head to landfills. The sand is generally viewed as contaminated and can't be used in playgrounds. In some cases, the sand can be used as fill for construction projects and spread on winter roads. Fargo is planning on storing a portion of their sandbags, perhaps as many as 500,000, but in sandbag terms that really is a mole-hill.

The Star Tribune ran the numbers:
5 million sandbags
Fargo: currently has 2.5 million filled bags
Moorhead: is sitting on roughly 1.8 million bags
They estimate the cost "between $1 and $3 per sandbag for each flood, accounting for materials, labor, delivery and disposal."


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