Minnesota flooding updates for Wednesday, April 6

Posted at 4:30 PM on April 6, 2011 by Michael Olson, Paul Tosto and MPR News Staff

AT A GLANCE: Fargo, Moorhead want all flood defenses in place by Friday night... Thunderstorms coming? Dayton OKs emergency declaration for MN flood counties... Stillwater Lift Bridge closing.


4:30 PM Lift Bridge closing Friday


It stayed open during the first crest. But officials today say the Stillwater Lift Bridge will close at 9 a.m. Friday due to high water. MnDOT says it will continue to monitor the river's rise, and the bridge may close sooner if conditions warrant.

stcroixstillwater.jpg

Dayton Oks state of emergency

Gov. Mark Dayton today officially declared a state of emergency for 46 Minnesota counties hit by spring flooding. It means state emergency personnel can provide immediate help to local officials when requested.

Fargo readies for possible thunderstorms

Forecasters say a Red River crest could coincide with a storm moving into the region late Saturday and Sunday with a good possibility of rain and maybe thunderstorms, MPR News reports.

City officials in Fargo and Moorhead say they say want all the cities' flood protections in place by Friday night.

The National Weather Service expects the river will reach 39 to 41 feet, making it one of the top three floods for the Fargo-Moorhead area. Flood defenses are in place up to 44 feet.

usgs.fargo.46.jpg

Pictures

Here are some Red River flooding photos submitted by Daniel Stoa and Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo.

Thanks to MPR's Molly Bloom for putting together the slide show.

8:00 AM: A good time to build dikes

With predicted weekend precipitation raising the crest expectations for the Red River, Moorhead's mayor says residents must take advantage of the next few days to build dikes.

"There were a lot of things that happened in the 2009 flood fight that surprised us," Voxland said. "The biggest thing of course was the rain. It's better to get this [sandbagging] done now than wait and see what happens."

At this point, the Fargo-Moorhead forecast calls for showers Saturday through Monday.

sandbags.jpg

Moorhead resident John Perkins, from left, Fargo resident Scott Olson, Fargo resident David Ludwig and Barnesville, Minn., resident Wayne Schindler help build a sandbag dike at the home of Curt Kesselring on Harwood Drive in south Fargo on Tuesday. (MPR Photo/Ann Arbor Miller)

"Fargo and Moorhead residents will likely be piling sandbags even higher Wednesday, now that the National Weather Service has raised its Red River flood prediction by a foot," writes Bill McAuliffe in the Star Tribune. Excerpt:

The prediction, which anticipates possibly heavy rainfall into the weekend and a river crest Sunday, could mean Fargo would have to deliver 350,000 extra sandbags to vulnerable sites around the city Wednesday. That would match what the city distributed on police-escorted flatbed trucks Tuesday, the first day of deliveries.

MPR News reporter Dan Gunderson will be attending flood briefings this morning in Moorhead and Fargo. Bemidji-based reporter Tom Robertson is heading to Fargo-Moorhead to help with flood coverage. And News Cut's Bob Collins will be reporting from south Moorhead starting tomorrow.

Lack of drama on the Red?

Speaking of Collins, you'll find some of the best flood coverage on News Cut. Today Collins is writing about the absence of drama on the Red River so far:
Moorhead and Fargo are getting good -- very good-- at fighting floods. This year's flood -- the Red River could set a record by early next week -- surprised no one. Millions of sandbags have been made and are being delivered. The cities have been having meetings with residents for weeks. So where's the drama?

"It's kind of a relaxed complacency," Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland told the Fargo Forum Tuesday morning. "I'm a little bit concerned."

Collins also posted this Red River flood cam this morning:

Watch live video from 702 Flood Cam - Moorhead on Justin.tv

Snow pack going, going, almost gone

"With the snowpack fading quickly the hydrologists are now focusing in on runoff finding its way from the tributaries and streams into the main stem rivers," writes Craig Edwards on the Updraft blog. Edwards posted this image:

snowpack.jpg

Flood relief and the federal goverment shutdown

A looming shutdown of the federal government could have wide-ranging effects on state and local governments, but will not affect federal flood relief dollars, according to Bob Collins on the News Cut blog. Collins has a helpful guide to what happens when Washington goes dark:
Q: If the Red River flooding requires federal aid and response, will residents get it?

A: Yes. Disaster response is not affected in a shutdown.

Latest flood forecast for Fargo

From the National Weather Service forecast last night:
THE FLOOD WARNING CONTINUES FOR THE RED RIVER AT FARGO. * AT 10:15 PM TUESDAY THE STAGE WAS 29.7 FEET. * MODERATE FLOODING IS OCCURRING AND FOR THE NEXT 7 DAYS...MAJOR FLOODING IS FORECAST. * MAJOR FLOOD STAGE IS 30.0 FEET. * FORECAST...WILL RISE TO AROUND 39.5 FT SUNDAY EVENING THEN WILL FLUCTUATE AROUND 39.0 FT THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING. A CREST RANGE OF 39 TO 41 FEET IS EXPECTED AROUND APRIL 10TH OR 11TH. THE HIGHER RANGE VALUE INCLUDES PRECIPITATION THROUGH SUNDAY. THE FORECAST FOR THE CREST WILL DEPEND ON ANY ADDITIONAL PRECIPITATION AND WILL CHANGE IF IT OCCURS. * FLOODING IN THE RED RIVER BASIN IS NORMALLY LONG TERM. THIS FORECAST WILL REMAIN ABOVE FLOOD STAGE THROUGH THE FORECAST PERIOD. * IMPACT STATEMENT(S) - AT 40.0 FEET, FARGO...TOP OF THE ISLAND PARK DIKE. MOORHEAD...RED RIVER IS LAPPING AT THE BASE OF THE HERITAGE HJEMKOMST INTERPRETIVE CENTER.

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