Warning in effect from late Sunday until further notice
By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN As of Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service has increased its projected elevation of the Crow River for next week to 19.8 feet, and flood warnings have been issued for Delano and Rockford.
At 11:30 a.m. Thursday, the river was at 8.3 feet in Delano, according to the Weather Service. As of Thursday morning, the Weather Service’s hydrograph showed the river as having potential to reach 15.2 feet by early next week. Flood stage is at 16.5 feet.
“Now, it’s up to 19.8 feet, as of this afternoon,” Delano City Administrator Phil Kern said just before 4 p.m. Thursday of the projections for early next week, noting the recent rains and weather are the likely reason for the increased elevation projection.
Kern said the 19.8-foot level is comparable to 2001 and 1997, and said there may be some spots in Delano sandbagged this weekend. The first two areas, he said, would be north of the Crow River bridge on Bridge Avenue near the Xcel Energy parking lot.
“We’d also probably do some sandbagging on River Street just under the Highway 12 bridge where the river makes a bend,” Kern added. “We may have to do some there. Those are the two areas of concern right now at this flood elevation.”
In the event of sandbagging, the city’s public safety coordinator Bob Van Lith and public works director Ernie Eden would coordinate the effort. Kern said as of Thursday afternoon he did not know if volunteers would be sought to assist in any efforts. It was noted the city’s Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) has been notified its assistance may be needed in the coming weeks.
Kern said if the weather changes for the better, that elevation number could drop again, but if the weather changes for the worse, it could increase a bit more.
“It jumped 5 feet in one day based on the weather, so we’ve just got to keep our eyes peeled and be ready and prepared for something more,” Kern said, adding that the weather service is generally “pretty accurate,” and said the city takes these forecasts very seriously.
Another issue the city could face is the remaining ice that is on the river. There is potential for that to break up and cause “ice dams.”
“That is, without question, a concern,” Kern added, adding that weather service forecasts do not contain that information.
“If it piles up and backs water up, that’s something we’re talking about and trying to plan on,” he added.
Kern said city staff would be meeting late Thursday afternoon and discussing the issue, and said a special emergency city council meeting could be called to bring the council up-to-date on the latest projections. Watch for more online at www.delanoheraldjournal.com.
From the Weather Service
The Weather Service’s projections can be found online at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=mpx&gage=delm5&view=1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1.
An additional quarter to upwards of a half of an inch of rain is expected across the upper Minnesota Valley and in the Crow system this afternoon (Thursday) and into tonight.
Another band of rain is expected to develop across the region on Friday and will continue into Friday night. Additional rainfall amounts with this second band will average between 0.3 to roughly 0.5 inches. Due to uncertainty in the location and timing of the rainfall expected on Friday, this forecast precipitation is not included in the river forecasts.
“As we are able to get a better handle on the future precipitation amounts and location, it will be incorporated into the river forecasts,” according to the Weather Service.
Another factor impacting the snowmelt is the continued above-normal temperatures. Highs Friday and Saturday will be 40 to around 45 across much of the area. Temperatures for Sunday and into Tuesday will typically be in the mid-to-upper 40s, with highs pushing around 50 in the lower Minnesota and Crow River system Monday.
“These warm high temperatures will continue the snow melt,” according to the weather service. “Overnight lows will remain above freezing, so no refreezing in the night time hours.”
Ice and debris jams are also a concern as this event unfolds, the Weather Service noted. If an ice or debris jam is observed, residents are asked to contact emergency personnel. In an emergency, dial 911. In a non-emergency, contact the Wright County Sheriff’s Office and Delano emergency personnel through Wright County Communications at (763) 682-1162.
See Friday update