WINDOM, Minn. (KEYC) — Compared to last year, water levels on the Des Moines River are relatively low.
“Right now the current water level in our gauge in Windom 18.77 feet, and that’s in the action stage so that’s kind of an alert to us to keep watching and monitoring the river," says City Administrator Steve Nasby.
As of Thursday, the Des Moines River sits at just under 19-feet, which Windom and the National Weather Service consider is a minor flood stage.
“We don’t get real overly excited in planning on getting sand or pulling sandbags to a staging area until we get to about 21 feet, and at that point, we’re starting to see flooding in Island Park in Windom. That’s kind of our canary in a mine shaft type of mentality as far as the flooding we had the last couple of years," says Nasby.
In 2019, the river crested at just over 23-feet in late March which prompted the town to fill sandbags with the help of volunteers.
Much of the flooding last year happened in Island Park and Perkin’s Creek which flows through the northern portion of the town into the Des Moines.
The river was so swollen last year that water spilled into Perkin’s Creek and actually caused it to flow backward.
Luckily, Windom hasn't had to experience last year's flooding in 2020.
“Hopefully the trend will continue with the slow melt, and if we continue on that trend, we’re hoping that the river maintains below the 19 feet and spares us a little flooding this year,” says Nasby.
Windom is hoping an additional river gauge can be placed further upriver to help with better predicting potential floodwaters before they hit the town.