The degree of flood danger on Minnesota rivers continues to be complicated by a number of factors, including the rate of snowmelt up north and the severity of showers and thunderstorms forecast for the weekend. All of those factors will affect river levels and rates of rise over the weekend, the coming week and beyond, according to Doug Neville, public information officer for the state Emergency Operations Center, and others on flooding's front lines.
A look around the state on Thursday:
• The Stillwater Lift Bridge, a major commuter link over the St. Croix River, will close at 9 a.m. Friday, according to Deb Paige of Washington County Emergency Management. The St. Croix is expected to rise above flood stage -- 87 feet -- on Sunday morning and to crest at 87.7 feet Wednesday afternoon. On Washington County's Mississippi River side, an aging levee in Newport continued to hold, she said.
• The Minnesota River was expected to rise to crests in Granite Falls and Henderson and second crests in Montevideo and New Ulm late Thursday.
• The Crow River's South Fork was expected to reach second crests of 15.3 feet in Mayer Thursday or Friday, 19 feet in Delano on Saturday and 14.2 feet in Rockford early Sunday.
• The Mississippi River: A second crest is expected to arrive in St. Paul on Monday afternoon and stay there for a couple of days, with levels falling by Wednesday morning. Despite great capacity on the Mississippi's broad span in southeastern Minnesota, the Emergency Operations Center plans to monitor that area more intensely early next week as the flooding risk in towns like Hastings, Red Wing, Lake City and Winona increases, Neville said.
"We've got a lot of protective measures that have been in place on rivers in the southern part of the state for some time, so there's always the concern that the pressure of water over time can cause erosion," he said. "So we'll be keeping an eye out for that."