Several communities across Minnesota are seeing rivers crest this weekend, intensifying the spring flooding that has closed roads, flooded basements and backed up sewer systems.
But due to a slow snowmelt and lots of preparation, overall damage should be minimal, according to Tyler Hasenstein, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
And “as long as people are aware for flood hazards, like not driving around barriers,” there is little danger, he said.
Several river towns throughout the state are experiencing moderate to major flood stages, although levels are not expected to set records.
The St. Croix River will crest at 88.7 feet in Stillwater Monday and Tuesday, according to the NWS.
The Mississippi River in St. Paul is expected to crest Sunday into Monday, which will submerge Harriet Island. The Mississippi will crest in Hastings Tuesday into Wednesday at about 20 feet. That could affect the eastern part of the city. In Red Wing, the river will crest at 16.5 feet Tuesday and Wednesday.
In Montevideo, the Minnesota River was expected to crest late Saturday at around 21 feet. On Friday, flooding prompted the state Department of Transportation to close a highway south of town, one of many roads closed around the state due to flooding.
On Sunday, the Minnesota will crest near Morton, in the south central part of the state, at a near record high. Many roads in the area are closed.
The Red River north of Wahpeton, N.D., was expected to crest late Saturday and into Sunday. Earlier in the week, the nearby city of Breckenridge, Minn., closed a main street bridge, and a park was mostly underwater.
Because of the drawn-out nature of the flooding, many of the affected areas were able to prepare, Hasenstein said. Some of the worst flooding has been caused by ice dams backing up rivers. But as the weather gets warmer into April, those will disappear, he said.
However, due to snow continuing to melt from northern Minnesota and North Dakota, the floods are expected to last well into next month, Hasenstein said.