By Mary McGuire

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Nestled near the Mississippi and Chippewa Rivers, the city of Wabasha is scenically beautiful – until things start to melt.

The one-two punch of this week’s heavy rain and melting snow is already turning drivers around at Highway 60 near 61.

That portion was shut down on Tuesday due to high water levels on the road.

Emergency Manager Darren Sheeley says it could be a small sign of what’s to come.

“We are seeing that around the county a little bit … localized flooding,” Sheeley said.

This part of the state has seen major flooding before. First in 1965, when river levels climbed more than 20 feet above flood stage and again when they hit 18 feet in 2001.

“The last five major floods that we’ve had, (the river) crested in April. So we know the first part of April is crucial for us to keep an eye on the river,” Sheeley said.

Another place they keep an eye on is Slippery’s, the iconic bar from “Grumpy Old Men” fame.

“At 13.5 feet, which is only a foot and a half over flood stage, Slippery’s starts to receive water on the lower part of it,” said Sheeley.

Sheeley says the city typically knows about a week out what flood stage the river is at so they can make preparations to protect what they can from the water.

Mary McGuire