The Mississippi River in Saint Paul is now predicted to crest at 19.9 feet next Wednesday or Thursday as all the rain from the southwest part of the state works it way to and up the Minnesota River.
This is what a 19-foot level looks like on the downtown side. The bike/jogging paths along the Saint Paul side of the river will be underwater between the Wabasha Bridge and the High Bridge. It probably won’t reach the road (at least on a widespread basis), even though the road will be closed anyway. The creates a traffic headache for commuters, mostly.
The great lawn on Harriet Island, as you’ve probably heard, will flood, as this video from the 19.6 level shows.
Over the years, I’ve kept a file of what various river levels look like. This is what Raspberry Island looks like at 18.5 feet, about a foot lower than the predicted crest.
Another foot should be just enough for water to reach the driveway under the bridge. Access to it, of course, will be blocked.
The predicted level won’t be anywhere near enough to flood the downtown Saint Paul airport. There’s a removable flood wall to protect it. Crews have started installing it — the fifth time it’s been erected — and it could interfere with airport traffic. But as of Friday evening the airport is still open and the FAA hasn’t posted any warnings about it closing.
The Army Corps of Engineers will likely close the river to shipping traffic for a week or so.
The last time there was a significant flood on the Mississippi — 2011 — it crested in Saint Paul at 19.1 feet with few noticing.
The flooding will be nowhere near what it was in 2001 (cool pictures here) when the river was four feet higher than it will be next week.
Of course, with more rain, predictions will change. But for now, it’s more of a nuisance than a disaster.