The tale is nearly told for how weather played a role in the floods of 2010.
First the snow. Then persistent cold to keep the snow in place this winter. Then the rain and record temperatures in March.
Most of the snow has now melted in Minnesota, and that means most of the water that was locked up in the snow pack is now working through the river systems. The damage is done so to speak.
With no major rain or snow events in sight for the next week or so, the focus and action shifts to events on the ground. Levee by levee, sand bag by sand bag, the flood story now becomes more about events on the ground than weather in the air.
The primary questions and potential areas of concern this weekend are:
-Will the dikes and levees hold on the Red River in Fargo and Morehead as the waters reach their crest?
-Will the Crow River in Delano behave and stay within the projected crest forecast?
-Will ice jams cause surprise areas of flooding?
Meteorologists are about to step aside and let the hydrologists take over to mop up this flood season. The resilient residents and government officials in river towns are doing their part to keep the rising waters at bay.
Nature has certainly reminded us this year that winter weather and spring floods are to be respected in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Let's hope there are no more surprises in the coming days.
Better late than never.
The Crow River finally crested Saturday in Mayer. Mayer is in Carver County about 25 miles west of the Twin Cities. The river level is slowly falling in Mayer this weekend.
It appears the river topped out at a level of 16.82 feet around midnight Saturday. That marks the second highest flood of record for the Crow in Mayer, second only to the incredible 1965 flood which crested over 2 feet higher at 19.23 feet.
To get an idea of how much water is flowing down the Crow in towns like Mayer and Watertown this weekend, you can use the flow rate of about 9,000 cubic feet per second (CFS). One cubic foot is about the size of a basketball. Picture 9,000 basketballs flowing by your house every second and you get the idea.
Of all the rivers in flood this year, the south fork of the Crow has been one of the most surprising and difficult to predict. The NWS raised the crest forecast level at least twice as the river blew through those crest forecasts.
Now the focus on the Crow turns to Delano this weekend. The river is expected to crest in there Sunday at a level of 20.4 feet.
The story of the Crow does not end in Delano. It flows through Rockford and past St. Michael before spilling into the Mississippi near Dayton which is just northwest of Anoka. The Crow's payload of water then heads down the Mississippi through Minneapolis, past Fort Snelling and into St. Paul.
The story is not over this year for the little river that could.