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Delano Continues To Deal With Crow River Flooding

DELANO, Minn. (WCCO) -- The Delano area continues to deal with high water from the swollen Crow River after heavy rain came through the area last week.

City leaders met with Gov. Mark Dayton Tuesday to update him on their needs and worries as more rain is in the forecast for the area.

The Crow River crested late Monday night, reaching a depth of just over 21 feet. It's the second-highest in history for the city of Delano, but still two feet under the record set back in 1965. Bridge Avenue in downtown Delano is closed until the water recedes.

The crest is relief for now because that means hopefully water levels will continue to fall and give the roads and businesses here a break. The Crow River flooding is something the people in this river town have dealt with before. Mayor Dale Graunke said that's why they have a levee in place, and several pumps throughout the community.

Still, water made its way into downtown Delano, forcing a couple businesses to close. Back in 1965, the Crow River reached 23.2 feet. Monday, it reached about 21 feet.

Gil and Alberta Scheiber were here, they've lived in Delano for almost 60 years. They've seen the Crow River at its highest in 1965 and very low just last year.

"Last fall, people were camping right here in the middle of the river. It was so low you could walk across it," said Gil. "When you see it down that low, you can't realize it can get this tall, it can get this high. It's scary, I can't imagine anyone canoeing or getting on it. It's fast and it's swirling."

The positive about the river reaching its highest point is now the waters will recede, city officials can get a better grip of what damage has been done and anything that needs to be fixed.

But more rain in the forecast has cause for concern on what damage will be found once the waters finally recede.

Officials from Write and Carver counties are expressing this concern, and their concern about how these river communities have to deal with keeping the water back year after year to Dayton.

Delano city leaders say the levee infrastructure is old – from 1969.

They say the city's spent 10 percent of annual budget on the manpower and supplies to keep the water from flooding streets and businesses.

Dayton says no matter where the money comes from - state or local - he's committed to getting the damage fixed.

It's the first of many stops for Dayton to flood-damaged areas around the state.

State Emergency Management said Tuesday to all the towns and counties suffering from flood damage to save their receipts.

They will submit dollar amounts hopefully early next week. Then, the state will assess before asking for federal assistance.

To qualify for federal assistance the state needs to show $7.4 million amount in damage, which Minnesota is expected to surpass.

Additionally, Dayton said he will consider calling a special session to cover the gaps of what state and federal funding will not cover.

Delano Flooding Crow River
(credit: CBS)
Delano Flooding Crow River
(credit: CBS)

One of the biggest problems when rivers cause flooding in a smaller community is that when a bridge has to shut down, the detour around it can take commuters several miles out of the way. Delano officials had to close the bridge in Delano, making it a headache for people coming into and leaving town.

It's happening all over the state as the Minnesota Department of Transporation said right now, at least 15 river crossings are closed due to flooding. MnDOT officials said they close these bridges not at a certain numeric level, but when their officials feel it is becoming dangerous.

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