Rising Crow River Threatens Delano Residents, Businesses

DELANO, Minn. (WCCO) – The water level on the Crow River is the second highest on record.

The downtown area of Delano seems to be where flood waters are posing the biggest threat.

A temporary levee has been set to guard businesses in the downtown, but it may not be enough.

As you drive into Delano, you’ll see water spilling into roads.

Farm fields look like lakes.

The sound of pumps sucking water out of storm sewers and basements can be heard around town.

“So throughout the years, there’s just certain ways you learn what to do to combat the situation,” Delano Mayor Dale Graunke said.

Graunke said crews have put up temporary levees, placed sandbags around manholes and set up plenty of pumps.

But there’s still concern.

“Well, we’re always worried. There are no guarantees. But you try to maintain, keep an eye on it and keep pumps going wherever we  need them in some of the lower areas,” Graunke said.

One bridge in particular, the major Bridge Avenue crossing, has everyone’s attention.

The currents of the Crow River look eager to overtake it.

“It’s amazing,” Delano resident, Susan Pumper, said. “I’ve never seen it like this. I’ve lived here for 25 years and it’s scary.”

“It’s pretty unreal. Never seen anything like this. You just kind of have to wait it out,” Dave Hilbelink, of Delano, said.

Only a few homes have had flooding so far, but some businesses have already been affected.

WATCH:Delano Businesses Fight Back Against Flooding

At the Three Crows Café, seven pumps are hard at work.

Still water is seeping into the basement and threatening to do more damage.

“We’re trying to pump out the basement so that it doesn’t come up on the floors,” restaurant owner, Gina Coburn, said. “That’s just all we’re trying to do, is keep the floors dry. But we’re losing ground and we’ve got more inches to go. And, plus, it’s going to be a while.”

The continuous flow of water could be a problem for the storage room at Three Crows.

“I’m concerned about safety now. We’ve got these trees. We’ve got swirling water. I don’t know what the erosion is like under there. So now, I’m starting to be concerned about that,” Coburn said.

The latest weather information shows that the Crow River is expected to crest around 1 a.m. Tuesday.

The problem is that water level is expected to stay well above flood stage for several more days.

That will be a test for the levees and pumps that are working around the clock.

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