Ramsey County commissioners are expected to declare a state of emergency so crews can act quickly to protect public property along the swollen Mississippi River and other areas vulnerable to overland flooding.
The emergency declaration, on Tuesday’s board meeting agenda, would relax procurement rules, allowing staff to quickly buy equipment and emergency supplies, including sandbags, said Kristy Stauffer, Ramsey County deputy director of emergency management and homeland security.
“The melt did go favorably, so far,” Stauffer said. “But with the frost being so deep, there was nowhere for the water to go. All the rivers are running high and fast.”
The National Weather Service is predicting that the Mississippi River in St. Paul will rise from 11.5 feet Friday to 19.9 feet by late next week. That’s nearly 3 feet above major flood stage.
Ramsey County’s social services building on Kellogg Boulevard in downtown St. Paul is just steps from the Mississippi River. County crews may sandbag around its lower parking lot — near Shepard Road — if waters continue to rise, Stauffer said.
To the north, County Road B at Interstate 35E in Roseville was closed earlier this week due to flooding. Crews have been able to pump out the water and reopen the road.
Snail Lake in Shoreview is overflowing its banks, threatening county parkland and amenities.
The city of St. Paul declared a state of emergency earlier this week and requested assistance from Ramsey County and surrounding jurisdictions. The city has ordered multiple road and park closures, including Water Street/Lilydale Road and Hidden Falls Crosby Farm and Lilydale regional parks.