Minnesota flooding concerns rising with water levels

Flooding concerns are rising as fast as Minnesota rivers are this week as melting snow flows south through the state.

Sandbagging, road closures, and other measures are underway to prevent major damage.

A rare sight from the Stone Arch Bridge is just one of those preventative measures. For only the ninth time in 60 years, the Army Corps of Engineers opened up the gate at St. Anthony Falls to allow extra water through and prevent flooding upstream. An extra 10,000 cubic feet of water are flowing through the falls every second as the Mississippi River starts to burst at the seams.

"We’ve had a long winter, a lot of pile, some real late storms," said Jim Jennings of St. Paul.

Where he strolled the river, downstream in St. Paul, some bicyclists ignored a road closure along Water Street and several people walked along the river’s edge and told us the paths aren’t flooded yet, but the water is coming.

"There are some trunks of trees that were exposed and now they’re completely underwater a couple feet," Jennings said. "The shoreline has come up to the rocks now."

The city’s also planning to close three miles of Shepard Road on Sunday on top of closures Friday on Water St. and Lilydale Road.

Forecasters expect the Mississippi to reach major flood stage next week in St. Paul, even before that, the St. Croix could reach major flood stage in Stillwater.

And the Minnesota River is expected to cause some minor flooding.

Essentially, the whole state is preparing for emergencies.

"We’re going to have pretty severe flooding in different parts of Minnesota more than likely," said Gov. Tim Walz.

The governor toured flood preparations in Hastings, which has a raised downtown, but will probably need sandbagging in some neighborhoods.

The city sits right near the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix, so residents need to watch them both.

"Be ready," said Rep. Shane Hudella, R-Hastings. "Have a plan. The water’s going to get high and depending on what the St. Croix does, we could be in a tough spot."

The good news is, all the rivers are projected to crest next week and start shrinking again, so any flooding hopefully won’t last too long.