In Delano, Minnesota, the threat of flooding is a spring ritual. Unfortunately, 2013 may bring that threat to a higher degree. The water level of the Crow River is already rapidly rising and close to record levels.
Local residents along the Crow River have already begun to prepare for the water invading their homes like an unwanted and destructive force. Paul Youngstadt has a home right on the river and has already begun unloading the contents of his house away from the imminent damage. He actually has a small fishing boat on his lawn that is already floating.
The river is at an all-time high for this time of the year just a stone’s throw from Youngstadt’s house. The river is already expected to crest sometime this week.
"Downstream that bubble of water will move toward Watertown and Delano, and the Crow River at Delano is now forecast to rise about another two feet, and then crest late Friday or into Saturday at 19.5 feet," MPR News’ Chief Meteorologist Paul Huttner said. "That is a foot above major flood stage."
This threat has put Delano officials on notice, preparing for the Crow River’s wrath by appropriating $30,000 to stand up to the flood along River Street.
"We met last night, the city council, and voted to implement phase two," said Delano Mayor Joe McDonald. "Which means two-and-a-half blocks of a temporary dike on the road, on River Street, with detours both on River Street and Bridge Avenue, upsetting both daily activity in town, which includes daily mass at the local church, the day care facility preschool and then businesses, the local coffee shop."
The dike has not been erected yet and will not be until it is deemed absolutely necessary to fight off the waters of the rising river.
This could be the calm before the storm so to speak, and Delano residents know this. Back in 2001 many of them experienced flooding brought on by the cresting Crow River. They are well aware of what possibly could come, especially with the knowledge the river is at record highs. One thing's for sure this spring, Delano will not be caught off guard by the dangerous waterway they share space with.