By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN – The South Fork of the Crow River in Delano crested at exactly 20 feet Monday at 3:45 a.m. and has slowly begun to go down.
However, the likelihood of a second crest has increased, with a 60 to 70 percent chance of it behind higher than the first one.
As of 10:30 Tuesday morning, the river was at a level of 19.34 feet. It is projected to decrease to about 17.8 feet by Saturday before rising again late this weekend and into next week, according to the latest update from the National Weather Service (NWS).
“It’s likely over the coming days that the river will lose anywhere from 0.3 to 0.6 feet of water per day, but throughout the decline, it won’t be unusual to see brief bumps where the water level fluctuates up a bit,” according to an update from the City of Delano.
The river is projected to hit a level of 20.2 feet by Tuesday morning, April 5, with it not clear if that is the high point or if the river is expected to rise beyond that.
A flood warning, issued by the NWS, continues for Wright County at least through Thursday night. The most recent forecast is based on snow melt and precipitation that occurred last week. It is expected to remain dry through Thursday.
Monday afternoon, the NWS updated cities along the Crow, Minnesota, and Mississippi rivers about the possibilities for the second crest.
The NWS warned of a high lack of confidence in its current models and assumptions about the remaining snowpack, according to the city. The NWS is talking about possibly running another prediction model this week to gauge more confidence in its predictions for the extended period.
The NWS uses a large number of assumptions in their models to try and predict future crests.
Monday, the NWS further elaborated on the information they use to determine the probabilities of future crests. First, predictions are using 24-hours of forecast precipitation.
Therefore, in today’s forecast, no precipitation was used. Any future precipitation would add to the forecasts when it closes within a 24-hour period – hence the more dramatic changes in predictions right before or during storm events.
Secondly, the NWS uses a 14-day temperature forecast in its models. Monday, the NWS cited that this is a recent change in its models compared to past practices, where it used shorter forecast periods.
For forecasts longer than the 14-day period, the NWS uses historical climate readings as its basis to predict future probabilities.
The current longer-range forecasts are predicting below average temperatures and above average precipitation for this region through the month of April.
The precipitation forecast included minor amounts of rain/snow this Thursday and Friday, as well as the potential for a more substantial storm system Sunday through Tuesday of next week.
Yesterday, the city was primarily active in preparing the sanitary sewer system west of the river for an extended period of time.
A second bypass pump has been added along Highway 12, near Vital Signs and Foster Marine.
This bypass pump was needed to address wastewater issues for the segment of the line heading south from the temporary cap near the Peppermint Twist Drive-In.
This bypass pump will mitigate the chances of backups along that portion of the sanitary sewer system, according to the city. The infiltration from the damaged manhole structure in the river has slowed substantially to a manageable level.
Additionally, the city continues to pump water from other areas of the community where levee seepage has created standing water and ponding.
Areas around Central Park and south behind Wallace Street continue to experience higher ground water levels and surface water appearing. This is expected with higher river levels.
River Street is closed at this point in two areas – the first being between St. Peter Avenue and Second Street South, eliminating access to and from town via Wright County Road 17.
Traffic from the south is being rerouted on Seventh Street through the industrial park and to Highway 12. From the north, traffic is being routed on Franklin Avenue.
This stretch of road will be closed until river levels subside and the temporary levee in this area is no longer needed, according to the City of Delano.
• River Street is also closed between Bridge Avenue and Railroad Avenue.
This section of road was closed at 6 p.m. March 24 and will remain closed until further notice. The river flooding and sanitary sewer diversions are both concerns for traffic in this area.
• Bridge Avenue (the bridge) is also closed between Highway 12 and River Street. Access to the Delano American Legion is maintained, as is access to all businesses in the downtown area via alternate routes.
This section of road was also closed at 6 p.m. March 24 and will remain closed indefinitely.
The City’s flood plan calls for the bridge to be closed at 19 feet.
With the sanitary sewer diversion process also now utilizing the bridge as the primary method to convey sewer water from west to east, the bridge closure may be extended longer.
• 90th Street SW east of Wright County Road 17 in Franklin Township is also closed due to water in the roadway.
• Hennepin County Road 92 in Independence and Minnetrista is closed from Hennepin County Road 6 to Hennepin County Road 26. Drivers must take alternate routes during the closure. The duration of the closure is unknown at this time.
• Hennepin County Road 50 (Rebecca Park Trail) in the cities of Greenfield, Independence and Rockford is closed between Delano and Rockford, stretching from the Wright/Hennepin county line near the Delano Sportsmen’s Club north to Highway 55.
Limited damage occurs to these two roads when they flood – mostly shoulder restoration is necessary, according to the Hennepin County Public Works.
• The Minnesota Department of Transportation will close Highway 25 south of Watertown on Wednesday, March 30, to extend and raise a temporary berm in anticipation of a second crest of flood water.
Work will be conducted from 7 a.m. until completed; anticipated to be no later than 3:30 p.m. The roadway is closed from Highway 7 to Carver County Road 112. Motorists will follow signed detour onto Carver County Road 10 and Carver County Road 33.
• Carver County Road 27 entering Watertown from the north is also closed.
More information will be published at www.delano heraldjournal.com as becomes available.
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