The flood risk across southern Minnesota grows rapidly over the next week. Barring any major breaking news events, the evolving flood story will likely lead your local newscast for at least the next week.
Our warmer temperatures are triggering steady snowmelt runoff. That means rivers are rising rapidly now.
— MPR Weather (@MPRweather) March 21, 2019
Many rivers are already in flood stage. Major flooding is already occurring on rivers in southwest Minnesota including the Cottonwood and Redwood rivers. Get the latest river forecasts here.
Downstream, the Minnesota and Mississippi near the Twin Cities are likely to reach peak flood levels next week. Some rivers may rise as much as 10 feet by next Thursday. Preparations in flood zones for many rivers should be rushed to completion over the next 48 hours.
Let’s dig deeper into the flood risk at various locations in Minnesota.
Mississippi River at St Paul
This Mighty Mississippi in St. Paul is a bellwether for flood around our region. Flood impacts are visible in this urbanized area. The Mississippi is expected to rise nearly 10 feet by next Thursday, March 28.
The current crest forecast near 18 feet would have visible flood impacts in St. Paul. Floodwater begins to cover Harriet Island at 17.5 feet. Warner Road is impacted at 18 feet.
If the expected crest of 18-feet is reached in St. Paul next week, it would tie for the 13th highest flood of record. The Mississippi has reached higher levels than this year’s projected crest 6 times since 2000.
The Minnesota River looks to crest over the next several days. Here’s the forecast for New Ulm.
Here’s the outlook for Mankato.
The Minnesota is forecast to approach major flood stage in the southern Twin Cities next week. That will impact river towns like Chaska.
Spring pattern continues
The overall upper air pattern favors continued pulses of milder Pacific air moving into Minnesota.
Temperatures look a lot like spring over the next week. We could get close to 60 on Saturday, and again next Thursday.
The longer range maps also suggest a possible rain to snow system between March 28-30. If rainfall from this system is significant, it could come as rivers are at or near peak levels late next week. That could be problematic for increasing or prolonging flooding in some areas.
This NOAA GFS model run is still far in the future for high confidence. But it gives you an idea of the potential for a system late next week.