Workers and volunteers completed a sand berm to protect downtown Stillwater from flood waters yesterday. The St. Croix River is predicted to rise about another foot and crest at the city on Sunday, if no rain comes.
Calls for additional volunteers this week were quickly met with willing workers from the community. Crews yesterday morning were laying plastic over the sand berm, and weighing it down with sandbags. Others kept a steady stream of sandbags coming.
The chance of severe flooding has been reduced recently, as the snow melt has been moderated by cool nights, and no precipitation has fallen. While there is still a lot of snow left on the ground throughout the watershed, no rain is in the forecast.
In the forecast released today, the National Weather Service predicted only about a 25 percent chance of major flooding at the 689-foot level. Earlier in March, there was a 90 percent chance of such significant high water.
The river level hit 687 today, putting it in the top 10 all-time recorded crests, and reaching what the National Weather Service considers “moderate” flood stage.
Stillwater mayor Ted Kozlowski analyzed some of the data and found that major floods have increased in frequency in recent decades.
“I created a little chart that shows all major flood events since 1950 and more than half have occured since 2010,” Kozlowski wrote. “I really hope this is not the ‘new normal’ for our river and our town.”