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Persistent rains have some Minnesota river levels rising fast

The rising Crow River is the talk of Delano
The rising Crow River is the talk of Delano 01:42

DELANO, Minn. — The Crow River is part of downtown Delano's charm, but at this time of year it tends to hog the spotlight.

"I remember, in high school, coming and sandbagging," long-time Delano resident Wyatt Russek said. "This used to not be built up like this."

According to the National Weather Prediction Service, the South Fork Crow River that flows through Delano is expected to hit major flood stage later this week. It's not the first time.

"All the stories of the canoes down main street, I grew up hearing about those," Russek said.

Preparing for flooding is part of the city's routine.

"It's one of those things that doesn't happen every year, but this is our second year in a row with a water event," Delano Mayor Holly Schrupp said. "We're very prepared for it."

For now Schrupp and other city leaders are prepared, but waiting and watching.

"Things are changing daily and depending on if the rain comes, when the rain comes, how much rain comes — that's going to change what we are doing also," she said.

The river is forecasted to reach 19.5 feet by Friday, but that doesn't account for the rainfall. Just a few inches more, at 19.9, and Public Works will put up the city's flood wall. It's a move that's happened three times since it was installed in 2015, including last year and 2019.

"Before that we did an earth and berm downtown and it was a lot of effort, lots of trucks, lots of dirt and clean up. Lots of money, too. This is a lot cleaner, quick flood response," City Engineer for Public Works Delano Shawn Louwagie said.

On Monday, city workers started closing stormwater gates near the river and inspecting the flood wall to better prepare for what's to come. On Tuesday morning, workers set up portions of the flood wall outside of Bridge Avenue in order to reduce response time if necessary. The bridge will remain open until it is necessary to close.

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