The National Weather Service has released a new spring flood outlook and it's actually gotten worse because we've had more snow. Yes, we had a nice melt in mid-February, but since the ground was still frozen, that water didn't really go anywhere. Since then, we've gotten more snow and more is on the way as we head into next week. Couple this with the already soggy ground, and we're going to be dealing with spring flooding. It's not a matter of "IF" anymore, it's a matter of "WHEN."
Here's the latest: The Cottonwood River at New Ulm has a 98% chance of seeing major flooding. That's a river level of 16 feet or higher. In fact, there is a 75% chance the river there could hit 18 feet and a 40% chance it could hit 20 feet. In the flood of 1965, the Cottonwood at New Ulm hit 20.86 feet. It hit around 18 feet in both 1993 and 2001. In our flooding in 2010, the river hit 15.56 feet.
Staying in New Ulm, now on the Minnesota River. There's a 98% chance for moderate flooding. That's when the river hits between 800 and 805 feet. There's a 90% chance for major flooding, when the river surpasses 805 feet. There's a 30% chance the river could rise to 810 feet, which starts to impact county highway 37. in 2001, the Minnesota River in New Ulm rose to 807.7 feet. Last year, it reached 804.86'.
In Mankato, there is a 98% chance for minor flooding, which basically means the river will reach flood stage of 22 feet. There's a 95% chance for moderate flooding, which is 25 to 30 feet. There's now a 40% chance the river would rise above 30 feet in Mankato, which is up from 20% from the last outlook. The river in Mankato rose to just over 28 feet in 2010. In 1993, the river reach just over 30 feet, at 30.11'. There's a 20 to 30% chance that could happen again this year.
To Henderson, where there is a 98% chance for moderate flooding. That's when the river hit 736 to 739.5 feet. There's a 50% chance for major flooding, when the river rises above 739.5 feet. That happened last fall, when the river rose over 740 feet in September 2010. There's about a 30% chance of that happening again this spring.
There are also flooding concerns along the West Fork of the Des Moines River in Jackson and Estherville. There mostly moderate flooding is expected, with the rivers around 10 to 15 feet.
Skywatch 12 Meteorologist Mitch Keegan