Rockford, Independence, Medina experience sogginess from rains

The Crow River is getting ready to crest at major flood stage in Rockford and Delano and some streets have been under water in Independence and Medina in the wake of record rainfall for the month of June.

The National Weather Service at Chanhassen at 2:48 a.m. Friday, June 20, reported that 4.13 inches of rain had fallen at Twin Cities International Airport, thus setting a maximum rainfall record for June. This breaks the old record of 3.48 inches set on June 29, 1877.

In Rockford, the Crow River was flowing along at 10.68 feet — minor flood stage — at 10 a.m. Friday, according to the Weather Service. Hydrologists were predicting a crest of 15.3 feet — major flood stage — for 10 a.m. Monday, June 3. Hydrologists expected the water level to drop quickly to moderate flood stage (between 9 and 12 feet) by 10 a.m., Wednesday, June 25.

The predicted crest of the Crow River at Rockford would rank as the fifth highest crest since the historic 19.27-foot crest on April 16, 1965.

When the Crow River reaches 15 feet at Rockford, sanitary sewers closest to the river might begin to back up, according to the Weather Service. At a water level of 10 feet, low-lying areas along the river would begin to experience flooding.

Delano is experiencing similar high water problems with the Crow River. The water level had reached 16.78 feet by 10 a.m. Friday — minor flood stage. A crest of 20.6 feet — major flood stage — was predicted for 10 a.m., Sunday. This would rank second to the historic crest of 23.25 feet on April 14, 1965.

Slow, no wake signs have been posted on Lake Sarah and Lake Independence because of high water.

West Hennepin Public Safety is expecting water to crest over County Road 92 on the Independence/ Minnetrista border on Saturday or Sunday, Public Safety Director Gary Kroells said Friday afternoon. The road will be under water and fully closed. He did not know how long it would take for the water to go down. “This is a guessing game,” he said.

Independence had eight to 10 inches of water covering the north bound lane at County Road 90 and Turner Road  and the northbound lane at Townline Road and Eagle Ridge between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Thursday, Kroells said. It took about four hours for both roads to drain, and they are fine now. Fortunately, Independence dodged the one to three inch rain storm that hit the Twin Cities area on Thursday.

Public works departments in both Medina and Independence reported water on some roads on Thursday, and by Friday, water levels were receding. Medina Public Works Foreman Ivan Dingmann and Independence Public Works Director Larry Ende both said Friday that they have never seen water levels this high in their cities. Dingmann has worked for Medina for 10 years and Ende has worked for Independence for 20 years.

Both cities marked roads that were under water with signs and/ or cones in an effort to encourage motorists to slow down.

Ende said five roads in Independence had water on them on Thursday and two gravel roads had minor washouts. Roads near Pioneer Creek and Lake Independence were the most prone to problems. Problems on gravel roads have been fixed.

Sanitary sewers in Independence were running at full maximum and “they did good,” he said. No one called to report problems.

“We are very happy. We were very concerned,” Ende said.

Overall Independence experienced only minor damage. “We were very lucky,” he said.

In Medina water covered portions of North and South Tamarack Drive, Willow Drive and Maple Street on Thursday. Dingmann said the water level was a couple of inches at most and no roads were closed. During his career with Medina, the city has never had to close roads because of high water.

Now officials in Crow River area cities are hoping that soils dry out before any upcoming windstorms. A combination of soggy soils and strong winds could result in toppling of large trees.