There is only about a 20 percent chance that the St. Croix River will exceed no-wake levels at Stillwater this spring. The National Weather Service says there has historically been a 60 percent chance of reaching that level. The agency’s latest forecast shows the greatest potential for flooding in mid-May, when the probability of exceeding no-wake levels is still in the 10-50 percent range.
Forecasts are derived based on variables like rainfall, snow melt, current river levels, and temperature trends.
“These long-range forecasts or outlooks allow you to see what computer simulations can tell us about extended periods. Remember that this information is indicative, that is, it only gives you probabilities or chances of possible scenarios,” NWS says on its website.
The forecast looks ahead until the week of June 7th. The past couple years, the river has remained high enough to warrant no-wake rules through the Fourth of July. N0-wake rules are typically ordered when the river goes above 83′ at Stillwater. Flood stage is considered to be at 87 feet.
Almost the entire St. Croix River watershed is currently in moderate drought, which will affect the amount of water that makes its way down to Stillwater. The weather during the next few months will largely determine flooding reality, as past years have shown how a week or two of rain can significantly affect the river.
Thanks to Craig Schmidt of the National Weather Service for his assistance with this reporting.