Delano prepares for potential flooding with more rain incoming

The City of Delano is preparing for potential flooding as more rain is expected for Tuesday

The Crow River is at 16 feet, heading to a crest of 20 feet on Saturday night and through Sunday, quickly approaching the bottom of the bridge that connects the town.

Delano Public Works has begun the flood preparations, first on Monday by closing storm sewer valves to prevent backup.

On Tuesday, they installed the panels of the floodwall system that was installed in 2015 – just the third time they’ve needed to use them.

There is little to no chance the river will threaten the walls and send water into downtown, but it’s certainly high enough to stay on the safe side.

Crews work to install flood walls along the Crow River. (Credit: City of Delano)  (Supplied)

"We came down, let’s just see where the river is today, and then let’s see where it goes over the next couple days," said retired teacher Alan Briesemeister. "If it’s going to do what they say, then it’ll be over the bridge. So, then we’ll come down and check that out."

The record floods here came in 1965, when the Crow River reached 23.25 feet, completely swamping downtown businesses and homes.

Briesemeister had a colleague who hired a pilot to take photos that year, which they would regularly used in the classroom.

"So that was one of things we would do with the students is show them pictures of this river in ’65," recalled Briesemeister. "When the water was way up here and they were helicoptering people out of the utilities, cuz it was then an island."

While this does not appear to be a threat of anything serious, the need for precautions is a sign of how much water we’ve gotten and how quickly it’s swamped rivers.

Ironically, the record low level in the Crow was set just in December when it dropped to a mere 4.4 feet.   A sign of how little precipitation we had then…and how much we’ve gotten now.  

And with more to come, that leaves the flood projections in a state of flux.

The rising river levels are also why the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is planning to close the Highway 41 Minnesota River Crossing on Thursday morning. It will stay closed until the water recedes and crews can fix the damage.

"We need the water," noted George Sicora. "But, a little break wouldn’t be bad."