Rivers Rising: St. Croix Tributaries Send Rain Surge Toward Stillwater

Tributaries are running out of their banks, and significant flooding will hit the lower river by this weekend.




2 minute read

The Kettle River this morning.
The Kettle River this morning. (Photo via Twitter, used with permission.)

Enormous amounts of rain fell in the upper St. Croix River watershed yesterday, and a lot of that water is now making its way downstream. Not only did the storm wash out and flood many roads, tributaries have seen their flows triple, overflowing their banks, and running at dangerous levels.

Ten inches of rain fell on the far upper reaches of the St. Croix, in Wascott, WI. That amount was the highest rainfall in the region reported from the storm by the National Weather Service. Hinckley, MN received nine inches.

Video of the upper Namekagon River near Cable, WI:

By this weekend, all that water is predicted to bring Stillwater to flood levels. The National Weather Service now predicts the St. Croix at Stillwater will reach 86 feet on Saturday, the stage at which the Stillwater Lift Bridge may be closed, and well above the mark for no-wake rules. It will be eight feet above the level at which the walkway next to the river is inundated. (The city’s annual Lumberjack Days festival is also scheduled for this weekend.)


While the St. Croix at Stillwater won’t start to rise for another day or two, at Grantsburg it has already gone from 4.66 feet to 8.61 feet.

The Kettle River gauge near Sandstone, MN currently shows that river is at almost 14 feet – yesterday it was at 5 feet. It is also at 13,700 cubic feet per second (cfs) – yesterday it was about 700 cfs.


The National Weather Service also predicts that the Kettle will continue to rise, nearing an 18-foot level, similar to record levels experienced in June 2012.

Another major Minnesota tributary, the Snake, a monitoring site upstream of Mora has gone up 12 feet since yesterday.


More rain is expected in the area over the coming days, though no serious storms are in the forecast.

This extremely high water is dangerous. It can wash trees and other debris into rivers, and cause powerful currents. Please exercise great caution for the next several days.


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Rivers Rising: St. Croix Tributaries Send Rain Surge Toward Stillwater