Flood Update - March 22, 2019

City of Delano Flood Update - March 22, 2019

Record Level: 23.25 feet – 4/14/1965
Recent Crests: 21.02 feet – 6/24/2014
Current Forecast: 18.00 feet Saturday/Sunday, remains high through next week
Recent years at this level: 2010, 2011, and 2014

A few impacts:
15+ feet – flood gates begin to close, requiring local runoff to be pumped into the river

18 feet – water hits the bottom of the bridge downtown
19.5 feet – levee needed on River Street south of St. Peter Avenue
20+ feet – downtown floodwall needed

Spring has arrived and the South Fork of the Crow is in the midst of its spring melt rise.  The cold temperatures in late January followed by record snow in February set the stage for what could be very high spring water levels.  Two weeks ago, the National Weather Service (NWS) advised that the combination of frost depth and snow cover meant significantly higher risk of flooding along many rivers, including the Crow in Delano.  The City has been going through its flood preparation protocol and the infrastructure is in place and ready.  Thankfully the last 10 days have been just what the doctor ordered in terms of flood prevention – slow melting in the day and freezing temperatures overnight to keep a slow pace to the runoff.  Additionally, the lack of rain or snow since March 13 has also been very helpful.

The forecast calls for the river to reach a sustained level of around 18 feet this weekend and stay at that level through much of next week.  During that time, ice jams and rainfall are two significant risk factors.  Right now the ice is breaking up along the river and hopefully it can get cleared out in the coming days.  The City expects water to start rising in low lying areas and pumps will be set up in areas where existing infrastructure struggles to keep the water out.  Barring any future increases in water levels beyond 18 feet, the bridge downtown and other roadways will remain open. 

The NWS keeps a webpage active with live river water levels and projections.  More updates will come as necessary.