|Wabasha St. Bridge|
What is measured when someone says that the river is at 14 feet. Fourteen feet above what?
Every observation point of a river has a "stage," unique to that location. It's a fixed point to serve as a point of reference -- the "0" stage.
The way we describe rivers is "X feet above flood stage," but I guess it's really "X feet above zero," because the point at which flooding occurs is usually much higher than that.
For the Mississippi at St. Paul, as the above map shows 12' feet is the "action stage" (close some roads etc.), major stage -- when things get interesting -- is up around 17 feet while "flood stage" is 14 feet.
Seems to me 6-7 feet is about your typically "it's been a rainy month" stage so you have to use that as a reference point. The "flood" on Saturday would be about 10 feet above what the river usually would be.