As spring temperatures continue to rise, the city of St. Paul is preparing for Mississippi River flooding at levels not seen since 2014, when torrential summer rains caused flooding across the state.
The City Council on Wednesday approved Mayor Melvin Carter's emergency declaration, which directs the city's emergency management director "to request and coordinate appropriate aid and resources from surrounding jurisdictions, the Ramsey County Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and the State of Minnesota, as needed."
On Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service flood forecast posted on the city's website showed the river is expected to reach more than 17 feet — "major flood stage" — within a week.
"We'll see a climb of basically one foot a day" as the weather warms, Emergency Management Director Rick Schute told council members. Street closures around Shepard Road could begin as early as Sunday, he said.
"I appreciate that we're moving this forward," said Council President Amy Brendmoen. "I think it sounds like it's serious."
The city has already ordered multiple closures, including Water Street/Lilydale Road and Lilydale, Crosby Farm and Hidden Falls regional parks.
In 2014, floodwaters inundated Harriet Island near downtown, forcing the Taste of Minnesota to relocate to Waconia.