Snowmelt pushing rivers higher; A shot at 70 Wednesday?

Aggressive snowmelt continues to push many rivers higher across southern Minnesota.

Check out the view as Harriet Island disappears under rising Mississippi River floodwaters in St. Paul Monday afternoon.

The Mississippi River inundates Harriet Island in St. Paul Monday afternoon. Image via City of St. Paul.

Here’s the hydrograph snapshot of the Mississippi River in St. Paul. The river is up about 9 feet from last Thursday and forecast to rise roughly another 2 to 3 feet by this weekend.

Parts of Raspberry Island in St. Paul are disappearing under the relentlessly rising river. See the trees seemingly growing out of the river on the left side of the partially submerged island?

Raspberry Island. Image via City of St. Paul.

Flood mosaic

The current status of flooding across southern Minnesota is a mosaic. Some rivers have already reached record flood stage. The Redwood River at Marshall, Minn., is a study in ice jam-driven rapid river level fluctuation. It looks like the river gauge is jumping on a pogo stick.

Some are still rising and will crest later this week. Here’s the Minnesota River at Savage in the south metro area.

And some smaller rivers like the Cottonwood in southern Minnesota have mercifully begun to fall.

Snowmelt continues

The Twin Cities logged four straight days at or above 50 degrees from Thursday through Sunday. That’s the first time a run of over 50 degrees has occurred that long since last October 24 to 28.

The warm spell has pretty much deleted everything but the snow piles from the Twin Cities south. But there is still plenty of snow on the ground in western and northern Minnesota. And there’s still anywhere from 1 to 6-plus inches of water content in some areas.

Here’s the updated snow cover map from Monday afternoon. Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland, Minn.,  still sports 25 inches of deep snow in the forest.


Bare ground from the Twin Cities south opens the door for south winds to blow in even warmer air this week.

A shot at 70?

Tuesday brings a windy but milder day to Minnesota. Wednesday looks ideal for reaching maximum air mass potential temperatures. The combination of a mild inbound air mass, lighter southerly winds blowing over sun-heated bare ground in southern Minnesota could push temperature to near 70 degrees close to the Twin Cities.

Temperatures will drop starting Thursday but still remain a few degrees warmer than average over the next week.

NOAA via Weather Bell.