St. Croix River spring flooding could break records

Stillwater already preparing to hold back high water

Al Schoch
March 04, 2019 - 8:30 am
Stillwater bridge

© Jim Roberts |

Spring flooding along the St. Croix River is something communities prepare for on a routine basis.

This year, that high water may set records, after all the snow that fell in the past month.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service reports the state's snowpack at 18 inches.

That's five inches above the previous high mark, set in 1965.

"A nice, slow, gradual warm-up is what we're looking for now," Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski told the WCCO Morning News on Monday. "As badly as I want to get my boat in the water, I'd prefer to get that gradual entrance into spring versus spring coming in with a bang."

Stillwater officials will use information from the US Army Corps of Engineers, plus weather forecasting, to get ready in case they need to fill sandbags and build up flood-walls.

"Staff has already drafted an emergency declaration if needed, not saying that we'll need to do that at this point," Kozlowski said.

RELATED: Fast warm-up could mean dangerous flooding

Starting Monday, the Corps gathers information that'll go into their annual flooding forecast. They'll have personnel in Forest Lake to look at the snowpack and find out how much water it's holding.

"We've got fast-tracked sandbagging, with a little ingenuity with how fast we can fill those thnigs," Kozlowski said. "The fact that we have a heads-up on this now, makes our job a little bit better. It gives us a little bit more time to prepare, anyway."

Kozlowski said it'll take a large volunteer effort to protect the city in case this year's spring flooding matches the records set during all those snowstorms that hit the area.

"It might seem obvious, look at all the snow on the ground, it has to go somewhere," he said.




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