Rain worsens and lengthens flooding problems

The rain we’ve seen over the last couple of days means flooding all over the state is worse and lasting longer.

A trail connecting Boom Island Park and Nelson Park in Minneapolis flooded after the rain of the last couple of days, just a small symptom of a potentially large problem.

The St. Croix River is swallowing up homes in Lakeland, essentially erasing Quixote Avenue and flooding more than 20 houses.

The Crow River is tickling the bottom of a bridge in Delano and bursting past the banks.

Exactly a week ago, cars drove across the same bridge, and the river was swollen but not overflowing.

Flooding along the St. Croix River in Lakeland, Minnesota. (FOX 9)

In both spots, this was about as bad as river flooding was supposed to get.

I asked chief meteorologist Ian Leonard to explain how recent rain changed the calculus.

"I’ll bring up a hydrograph which is looking at the cubic feet per second and the overall flow rate and the height of the river," Ian said. "So, south fork of the Crow near Mayer. Now, as you notice here, over the last week it has been going up but staying just under major flood stage. If we didn’t have the rain -- a quarter inch yesterday, nearly three inches overnight — it would’ve continued to work down, but then you notice it begins to peak back up here into major flood stage."

That same sort of double crest is happening in the St. Croix.

The Mississippi may be the exception.

Instead of slowing down and then growing again, it’s just growing.

At Harriet Island Park, you can see the river is well beyond its banks — burying benches, paths, and picnic tables that were all in use as recently as Friday when the city closed the park.

A St. Paul spokeswoman said even with the extra rain, the damage is minimal because they prepare for problems like this and an even higher river.

"There’s not really a lot of extra things that we need to do with that extra foot," said Lisa Hiebert, communications manager for the public works department. "We’ve done a lot of them already with closing some major roads, shutting down some sanitary sewers."

The Mississippi was expected to crest this weekend in St. Paul, but the rains pushed that back about a week, and the river could rise about five feet above flood stage.