Minnesota flooding: St. Croix River near Stillwater; swinging bridge near Duluth closed: Videos
STILLWATER, Minn. (FOX 9) - The St. Croix River has risen more than 6 feet since Friday, flooding parks and restaurant patios in Stillwater. Flooding is also a problem on the North Shore, closing the iconic swinging bridge in the Jay Cook State Park.
Stillwater has spent weeks preparing for major flooding, building a two thousand-foot flood wall along the river. Volunteers have also placed tens of thousands of sandbags. Residents are hoping that all the efforts will prevent the water from going into town. The Mississippi River is now less than just a foot from flood stage, with Shepherd Road in St. Paul closed.
At the capitol, Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill adding $40 million in state funding to a revolving emergency fund that is used to help local communities that are impacted by disasters, including flooding.
Stillwater city officials expect the St. Croix River to crest Thursday or Friday. The incredible view of the water is what the Dock Cafe in Stillwater is known for, but as the river continues to rise, customers aren't being seated out on the patio.
"It's a weird thing to see this patio flood for sure. It's usually a really cool spot to watch floods, but this year, we're just going to kind of take it a little easier," said Daniel Cornforth, the manager of the Dock Café.
Though the water hasn't quite reached the patio, it very well could. The river rose faster than the city's mayor can remember, but he has good news.
"It's starting to taper off a little bit. So we're not seeing the river rise as fast as it has over the last few days," said Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski.
Downriver, the city of Bayport has had floodwaters put garages underwater and come close to homes. Tom Geiger said he's seen his alleyway underwater several times in his 43 years in his Bayport home.
"Pretty much the common spring event that we might see every five years or so," Geiger said. "We're hoping it's not going to be a major flood or major event like it was in 2001."