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Flooding Concerns Growing Around Twin Cities

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Mississippi River is creeping up on downtown St. Paul, and it’s just one of many areas around the state being affected by flooding.

The river there won’t crest until late next week but it’s already triggered road closures. Harriet Island has been closed due to flooding concerns and it will likely stay that way for several days.

The Mississippi River isn’t expected to crest until Thursday. The water rose more than two feet since Friday night, and it’s expected to rise another three and a half feet before Thursday. The flooding couldn’t come at a worse time for the Padelford Riverboats. It’s the busiest 10-day stretch of the season, and they’ve been forced to cancel all of their river tours. That includes four wedding receptions this weekend.

“The issue isn’t with the river being dangerous for us to run our commercial boats on, it’s the park is going to go under water,” said Gus Gaspardo with Padelford Riverboats. “And we can’t have brides wading through ankle-deep water waiting to get on the boat. We have to err on the side of safety.”

The owners of Padelford Riverboats expect it to flood in the spring, but not in the summer. They said they’ve seen flooding one other time in June, more than 20 years ago. Organizers of Taste of Minnesota are scrambling to find a new place to hold their event, which is scheduled for Harriet Island over the Fourth of July weekend.

As for when the park could be back open, they said they’ll keep an eye on their forecast and post updates on their website but they’re not sure.

Gov. Mark Dayton hasn’t ruled out the possibility that lawmakers will be called back to St. Paul to help Minnesotans with flood relief. Many people across Minnesota spent the first day of summer sandbagging and waiting on rising rivers. They’re trying to keep rushing water out of their homes.

Many rivers, like the Crow in Delano, have spilled onto streets, parks and low-lying areas. It rose more than two feet Saturday and it’s not expect to stop rising until Monday morning. The crest of this big river couldn’t come soon enough for this small town.

The National Weather Service is predicting the Crow River will peak Monday at 20.6 feet, the highest level in nearly 50 years. At about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, the Crow River in Delano was at 20.02 feet.

In Henderson, the Minnesota River is already five feet above flood stage. The National Guard is in the area, making sure its levees are holding back flood water. The rising water has triggered mudslides and already done substantial damage to the city.

“Right now everyone is taking a breath and get back to normalcy. We’re trying to get soil experts out here to look at some of the areas so we can figure out a plan to stabilize,” said Henderson Mayor Paul Menne.

Workers spent the Saturday removing more than 200 dump trucks worth of mud in hopes it’ll prevent future flooding and mudslides. So many roads are flooded, there’s only one way into town along State Highway 19.

The St. Croix River in Stillwater is still below flood stage, but it’ll get there by Tuesday. Already some businesses are seeing water spill onto land, especially those along Main Street. The Dock Cafe and neighboring businesses aren’t taking any chances. They’ve started putting up sandbags, trying to block the river from getting inside the buildings.

With more rain in the forecast on Sunday, flooding concerns remain high across the state.

Watch Kate Raddatz’s Scott County Flooding Report Below

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