Flooding of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers this spring is expected to leave weeks of cleanup work in its wake. Users of boat launches and riverfront parks and trails should be alert to changing conditions.
Flood waters were expected to crest at 13.7 feet on the Mississippi in Saint Paul the weekend of May 21-22, according to the National Weather Service. That is just below the minor flood stage of 14 feet. However, the crest could change with rain. It will likely be late May before flood waters recede. Cleanup will extend well into June.
On May 16, Saint Paul officials announced the temporary closing of Water Street/Lilydale Road, low-lying trails, and public boat ramps at Watergate Marina, Hidden Falls and Lilydale parks due to flooding. Riverfront roads, including Shepard and Warner roads, typically only become impassable when the flood stage reaches 18 feet.
It will likely be late May before flood waters recede. Cleanup will extend well into June.
The public has also been advised to watch for possible temporary closures at Meeker Island Dog Park/Desnoyer Trail, Crosby Farm Regional Park, City House, Upper Landing, Chestnut Plaza, Lambert’s Landing, Harriet Island, Kelly’s Landing and Raspberry Island. Anyone with reservations to use the facilities in riverfront parks should check beforehand to see if they are open.
Saint Paul officials are urging people to watch for signs announcing temporary park and trail closures. People are also being warned not to cross barricades if and when they are posted. Parks and trails typically stay closed after flood waters recede for cleanup.
Saint Paul flood information and closures can be found at stpaul.gov/departments/emergency-management/flood-information. The page has links to other city websites that are updated with information on closures, as well as local flood forecasts from the National Weather Service. The public can also sign up for email updates on flood conditions and can follow the departments of Parks and Recreation and Public Works on Twitter for the latest information.
Minnesota state parks also post flood information. Pike Island and Picnic Island closed at Fort Snelling State Park in mid-May due to flooding, but the rest of the park is still open. Check for updates by visiting dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/park.html?id=spk00154#homepage.
— Jane McClure
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