By Ryan Gueningsman
At a meeting Wednesday afternoon with downtown business owners, Delano city officials said at this time they are not planning on building any additional protection from rising water on River Street, as the projections from the National Weather Service have not changed for the crest date or height.
“At this point, it looks like we’re not going to have to do that,” City Administrator Phil Kern told the group. The Delano City Council had given city officials permission, if necessary, to go ahead with building a temporary floodwall if it looked like water would encroach onto River Street.
Kern said Twin Cities news media “ran wild” with a story that Delano was in fact going to build the temporary wall, which has drawn even more attention to Delano, including recent news media helicopter fly-overs.
“We’ve tried to calm that,” Kern said.
Another positive thing city officials noted was the warm weather, which melted a lot of the large chunks of ice that had been building up downstream on the river.
“The ice concern level has really dropped a lot,” Kern said. “That really is the best message of the day.”
At 19.5 feet, which is the projected crest, Kern said the city can manage that level, and said it shouldn’t impact traffic on the Bridge Avenue bridge. At 18 feet, water will hit the bottom of the bridge, Kern added.
On Thursday morning, the river had risen to 18.35 feet, and is projected to crest at 19.5 feet Friday night into Saturday morning.
The Weather Service noted that, following the crest, additional rises are possible.
Several roads closed due to high water
South of Delano off Wright County Road 17, 90th Street SE in Franklin Township is completely blocked due to high water.
Also, south of Delano as one approaches Watertown, several road closures are being experienced, including on Carver County Road 27 as one approaches downtown Watertown near Rick Johnson Memorial Park.
As of Thursday morning, one could still travel south of Delano to the Watertown city limits before running into high water.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation also advises no unnecessary travel on Highway 25 south of Watertown due to flooding.
Warning signs are in place warning motorists to slow down through the flooded area.
No closure of Highway 25 is anticipated at this time; however, flooding is difficult to predict and roads may be closed or restricted without warning.
Motorists are advised to check road conditions in advance of travel. Highway 25 south of Watertown
Forecast from the National Weather Service
Dry weather will continue through Thursday. A system will be moving into the area Friday. The bulk of the precipitation with will remain to the south.
However, southern and central Minnesota, as well as southern Wisconsin, will see lighter activity. Amounts will typically average up to one-quarter inch in far south central Minnesota with lighter amounts farther north and west of around one tenth of an inch.
Another challenge with this system is the precipitation type, according to the Weather Service.
Temperatures will be borderline, which means it is likely rain could change to snow.
For locations in middle and upper Minnesota basins that still have a snowpack, temperatures will continue to be a be critical factor.
Highs Thursday will be in the 50s and will cool to the mid to upper 30s for Friday and Saturday with the arrival of the approaching precipitation.
Lows all three nights will be in the low to mid 30s. Hence the melting of the remaining snow pack may slow down with the cooler temperatures Friday and Saturday.
The National Weather Service’s projections can be found online at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=mpx&gage=delm5