Update on river flooding; Thursday looks drier now

I like the newest computer model info!

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System model shows that rainfall Wednesday night and Thursday will be pass mostly to our south:

NOAA GFS precipitation rate (mm/hour) Wednesday evening through Thursday night, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the precipitation rate (mm per hour), not to the total amount of rain or snow.

Earlier runs of the GFS model gave us rain in about the southern half of Minnesota on Thursday. We don’t need any rain with all of the river flooding that’s going on right now!

As always, updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you’ll also see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

River flooding update

Our spring snow melt continues to cause flooding in many locations.

As of Sunday evening, many spots along the Minnesota River are at moderate flood stage. The Minnesota River is expected to reach major flood stage at Savage on Monday, and at Montevideo Tuesday. The Minnesota River reaches major flood stage at New Ulm on Thursday. The Cottonwood River at New Ulm is already at major flood stage, it’s expected to remain at major flood stage until late Thursday.

Many areas have flood warnings. You can get flood warning updates by clicking on any location on the National Weather Service Twin Cities website. Areas with flood warnings are shaded green on the NWS main page, and here’s how the map looked Sunday evening:

NWS Twin Cities

The Mississippi River at St. Paul was at moderate flood stage on Sunday and was expected to reach major flood stage overnight Sunday night.

Here’s the NWS summary from Sunday morning:

1027 AM CDT Sun Mar 24 2019

The Flood Warning continues for
The Mississippi River at St. Paul.
* until further notice.
* At 9:00 AM Sunday the stage was 15.3 feet.
* Moderate flooding is occurring and Major flooding is forecast.
* Flood stage is 14.0 feet.
* Forecast…The river will continue rising to near 20.4 feet by
Friday morning. Additional rises may be possible thereafter.
* Impact…At 18.0 feet…Warner Road may become impassable due to
high water.
* Impact…At 17.5 feet…Harriet Island begins to become submerged.
* Impact…At 14.0 feet…Portions of the Lilydale park area begin to
experience flooding.
* Impact…At 13.3 feet…Water begins to encroach on Water St.

You can click on any location on the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service  (AHPS) site to get hydrographs of recent and forecast river levels. Some locations list levels in feet above sea level, others list levels in feet above a local reference point.

Here’s the late Sunday afternoon hydrograph for the Mississippi River at St. Paul:

NOAA/NWS/U.S. Geological Survey

The 20.4 foot level on Thursday would be the seventh highest Mississippi River level ever recorded at the St. Paul gauge:

NOAA/NWS/USGS data for the Mississippi River at St. Paul

Water is already covering the steps in front of the pavilion at Harriet Island in St. Paul:

March 24, 2019     City of St. Paul webcam

Here’s how that same area looked Saturday morning:

March 23, 2019      City of St. Paul webcam

You can imagine what this area will look like as the river rises another 4+ feet this week.

Here’s the late Sunday afternoon hydrograph for the St. Croix River at Stillwater:


Projected river levels are updated on a regular basis, so check back to the AHPS site and the NWS point forecasts for the latest info on the rivers near you. The NWS also posts some flooding details here.

If you’d like to scroll through hydrographs along a certain river, check here.

Temperature trends

Low temperatures will be below freezing Sunday night and Monday night. That will slow down the snow melt a bit in areas that still have some snow cover.

Daytime highs on Monday will be in the 40s south and 30s to the north:

Our average March 25 high temp is 46 degrees in the Twin Cities metro area.

I project Twin Cities metro area highs to reach the lower 50s Tuesday, followed by mid 60s on Wednesday.  Highs retreat to the middle 50s Thursday and the upper 40s on Friday.

Wednesday will be the warmest day of the week across most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin:

The last time that we reached the 60s at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was October 22!