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“Flooding and landslides in the community of Jordan have caused damage as the Sand Creek rises out of its banks; and folks in Prior Lake continue to watch with dismay as heavy rains show no sign of slowing the rise in lake levels not seen for 50 years,” Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, wrote to constituents on Monday.
The Mississippi River rose above flood stage in at least two southeastern Minnesota towns — Wabasha and Winona — early Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
The river is expected to rise several more inches by Saturday, but in the meantime, Wabasha tried to spread the word that it’s open for business after people canceled weekend plans in the city.
“Flooding? No, and where?” said Cheri Wright, executive director of the Wabasha-Kellogg Chamber of Commerce. “I’m on Main Street and I’m wearing open-toed shoes.”
Upstream in Newport, the City Council planned to meet for an emergency session Tuesday to decide whether to declare a state of emergency after Mississippi floodwater seeped underneath one of the city’s main levees, overwhelming several homes and buildings.
While the city tried to reinforce the levee with sandbags Monday, it also set up a sand station for residents to fill sandbags for their properties.
In nearby Cottage Grove, the public works and public safety departments met to discuss the possibility of sandbag deployment. And across the river in South St. Paul, officials closed Hardman Avenue south of Interstate 94 to prepare flood control systems.
Commuters weathered three major highway closings Monday because of flood-swollen rivers. Flooding along the Minnesota River has gotten the better of Hwy. 41 in Chaska and Hwy. 101 in Shakopee, forcing travelers to switch to an already heavily used Hwy. 169 over the Bloomington Ferry Bridge as well as northbound Interstate 35W farther to the east.
Rising waters on the St. Croix River shuttered the Stillwater Lift Bridge, which connects Hwy. 36 on the Minnesota side to Wisconsin’s Hwy. 64. The bridge “will be closed until further notice,” said Denise Workcuff, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The river is expected to crest later this week.
Star Tribune staff writers Tim Harlow, Jennifer Brooks, Jim Anderson and Bill McAuliffe contributed to this report.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482