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Rising River Levels Forcing Road, Trail Closures In Twin Cities 

Originally published May 15

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- Minnesota's lakes and rivers are on the rise this spring, about a month later than normal.

Flooding is happening in many areas in the state including the North Shore, along the Minnesota River, and parts of the Mississippi River.

"It's gone up a couple feet," said St. Paul resident Gretchen Henke said. "My window looks out to Raspberry Island and that whole tip is under now."

Starting Monday, Water Street in St. Paul will be closed between Highway 13 and Plato Boulevard in anticipation of street flooding.

"We monitor the Mississippi River levels all year long. Temporarily closing Water Street is a standard practice by the City when the river levels start to rise," said Sean Kershaw, director of the St. Paul Department of Public Works. "We remind people to be safe and always follow all posted signs when enjoying the river. Do not explore or go into any areas, trails, or roads that are closed due to the high-water levels."

"The reason why we're seeing these rises this year are actually because of the weeklong of heavy rain," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Brent Hewett.

The National Weather Service said the late bloom of trees, grasses and plants are also making it difficult for the ground to absorb the excess water.

St. Paul Mississippi River Flooding
(credit: CBS)

"In St. Paul and areas south of the Mississippi, we still have to wait probably seven to 10 days before we see the rises crest," said Hewett.

While rising water is nothing new in the spring, Hewett said it's happening later in the season.

"It's pretty unusual to see that kind of water going through those locations on the North Shore," said Hewett. "When you start talking about historic bridges and stuff being damaged, you can kind of get an idea that it's more of a significant event than something we normally see."

The National Weather Service said upcoming rain could cause levels to rise even more, though as more vegetation grows the impact will lessen.

Up north, rivers along Lake Superior are overflowing following significant rains and spring snowmelt. Closures are affecting Gooseberry Falls, Tettegouche, Temperance River, and portions of the Gitchi-Gami and North Shore state trails, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials say.


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