The St. Croix River has reached its crest after weeks of rising waters, and begun slowly dropping back down.
The river at Stillwater hit 686′ above sea level — a foot short of ‘minor’ flood stage. The National Weather Service had predicted a 50 percent chance of cresting at this stage, and about a 35 percent chance of hitting 687′.
Water levels began to drop after the initial spring melt, about March 20. But then rain about a week later sent it climbing again. Now it appears to be coming down from that peak.
Afton mayor Bill Palmquist celebrated the news cautiously.
“A bit of good news for a change,” he wrote on Facebook. “The river forecast has been lowering over the last week and for now at least, the levels are going down. When the river is at levels in the 680s rain can make it rise very quickly, so we will continue to monitor, but for now it looks good.”
The river will still be “in the 680s” for the next week or two. The short-term weather forecast is promising. There is a chance of precipitation from Saturday night through Tuesday, but no indications it will be significant.
Tom Triplett says
As a resident on the river, i’ve seen that past years’ forecasts have been quite accurate. This year’s, however, initially predicted a much higher flood — more like last year’s. But then the forecast suddentlydropped significantly, which is wonderful, but still leaves the question of why the earlier forecasts were so off. Any explanation? Thx! Tom Triplett 651-222-0239.
Greg Seitz says
Tom – I think it’s because forecasts are always delivered in terms of probability. They National Weather Service offer predictions for percent chance of different levels of flooding. Some years, the “most likely” outcome occurs. Some years, a level that was predicted to be possible — but not probable — occurs. I imagine it helps local governments (and others) make decisions where they can calculate costs vs. risk. – Greg