The Water is Rising

The amount of water available to produce floods is at a much higher than average level for Minnesota, including the Minnesota, Red, Mississippi and Saint Croix river drainages, not to mention smaller rivers and streams. As I write this personnel at the National Weather Service are dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on watches and warnings for this area.

The snow pack has been melting for a few days and continues to do so, and is actually doing it at a nice pace. The melting stops over night as it gets cold, and only slowly resumes until the warmest part of the day, then slows down again. If the melting stays like this, flooding will be reduced. If it rains and gets very warm, we’re screwed.

It will be interesting to see how Fargo and other communities along the Red River react to there being no significant flooding, should that happen. Will the hundreds who have spent thousands of hours messing around with sand bags over the last couple of weeks take credit for stopping a flood that didn’t happen? Will he good citizens of the Red River Valley realize that they spent piles of time and money for something that didn’t happen, and thus, experienced a costly non-flood that would not have happened if the floods were not an issue? What I’m getting at, here, is the prospect that even in years when there is no flood, the threat of a flood is real, and costly, and that cost (monetary, emotional, social) should be considered when thinking about things like “do we move our homes and businesses out of the flood zone?”

The next few days will stay cold at night and not too warm during the day, but tomorrow there will be enough rain to hasten snow pack disintegration. There may be some flooding in spots, therefore, on Sunday. We are expecting more rain mid week, but still temperatures will be cool and Wednesday’s rain may actually fall as the frozen stuff (a.k.a. snow). And, remarkably, next weekend it will snow a bit more, and over the next 10 days, the high temperature will not pass about 40F and the lows will be below freezing almost every night across most of the state.

This means that a) the flooding may end up not being as bad as it could be, if enough snow pack gently melts away and b) the original forecasts, dating back a week or so, of major flooding happening in early April seem right. But do beware: Tomorrow’s rain may be a problem for you, depending on where you live.

Don’t drive into the water. Sounds like simple advice but some of you will, and some of you will ruin your cars or die or some other stupid thing. We have a whole warehouse of Darwin Awards.


Here’s a nice list
of flooding related resources from WCCO.

Comments

  1. #1 D. C. Sessions
    March 19, 2011

    So all of that nonsensical “infrastructure maintenance” would have been a waste of time and money that is more productively dedicated to tax cuts.

  2. #2 oldebabe
    March 19, 2011

    Lots of info re: acceptance of flooding and how to react, for dealing with the problem, all good, but the best and most sensible alternative, removal of habitats from the floodplain, not so much.

  3. #3 Den!s
    March 19, 2011

    I do hope some folks took your advice some time ago, to buy their flood insurance.

  4. #4 Clam
    March 20, 2011

    I expect that, knowing the history of American health insurance, it will only be possible to buy flood insurance for houses on top of 150 foot hills.

  5. #5 Jay Banks
    March 20, 2011

    It is true; if the threat of floods is real we should consider moving out of the flood zones. It sounds simple but, in reality, it is much more difficult. Taking into account that some people have lived in certain areas for ages, they are usually not willing to move anywhere. However, your advice might be taken into consideration by the young families who are looking for new home.

  6. #6 Warren
    March 21, 2011

    “Don’t drive into the water. Sounds like simple advice but some of you will, and some of you will ruin your cars or die or some other stupid thing.”

    I lived in Tucson for a number of years. It doesn’t rain there often, but when it does, it is not fooling around.

    One street heading into the downtown area cut under some railroad tracks; the underpass had a gauge with a “depth of water in feet” scale marked on it quite clearly. The scale went up to 7 or 8 feet.

    Invariably, each year when it flooded, some clown would try to drive through water clearly marked as being 3 to 4 feet deep.

    And invariably, that same clown would stand still for the news cameras and blabber on in public about just how stupid he was – without actually realizing just how stupid he was.

    Tragically, these events were never fatal.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    March 21, 2011

    I know that intersection (or at least, likely the same one). I was in Tuscon for one hella rainy winter. Many drove under the bridge, few drove out.

    Vegas has similar spots.

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