The National Weather Service has reported an increased potential for spring flooding on the Minnesota River and others.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Readiness Operations Chief Phil White said, ” We have a lot of snow water equivalent with a heavy snowpack, pretty deep frost. But what we don’t have is the other two pieces that are really the critical pieces are, what’s the melt going to look like is it going to be gradual which is better or is it going to be drastic, and then a rain event on top of it.”
Currently, White said they are, “Just monitoring the situation trying to stay ahead of it so we can act in such a way to limit any impacts to the local area.”
White explained that the only concrete step they can take at this point is to make themselves available as a resource and, in the end, flood mitigation is managed by communities based on their local needs.
“We’re going to get our teams out in the field and start liasoning with local and county and state communities just to see what their needs are,” he said, “And maybe provide them a little technical assistance as far as localized flooding situations.”
Meanwhile, National Weather Service Meteorologist Todd Krause suggests that anyone that hasn’t already should look into flood insurance. “If you are in an area that could be hit, flood insurance, you need to have that 30 days ahead of time before any flooding.”
Minnesota’s Disaster Contingency Account is essentially empty, and lawmakers say the need to replenish that funding is urgent with the threat of flooding after a record year of snowfall in Minnesota.
“Spring is coming. That record amount of snowfall is going to melt and it has to go somewhere, at some point if that doesn’t melt right, we’re going to see the creeks overflowing, the lakes overflowing, the ponds overflowing and the rivers overflowing,” said Representative Tony Jurgens of Cottage Grove.
Jurgens added, “This funding is too important to be left until the end of session. It may need to be available next month or May or June and we don’t want this money getting lost in the shuffle as funding priorities are being decided in omnibus budget bills.”
Lawmakers are asking for $20 million to be put into the account this year and another $20 million next year. ”