By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s still water over Highway 11 in Carver County, a major road closed in Chaska and a city park underwater in Hudson, Wisconsin. But, since the crests of Twin Cities rivers on April 1, those waters have been going down.

“We’ve got very lucky in terms of we got hardly any rain during the major part of the snow melt,” said National Weather Service hydrologist Craig Schmidt. “And then our temperatures were very conducive to a slow melt.”

But this week’s snow and rain could drop six to 12 inches of water on the ground. Compare that to the four to six inches of water contained in the Twin Cities snow pack that has since melted.

“We’re going to add water to the system, so it’s going to turn the rivers around a little bit,” Schmidt said.

Twice daily, the National Weather Service issues a flood forecasts that is followed closely by city, county and state officials. The latest update predicts falling river levels to stop dropping and level off this week. Those levels are then expected to rise slightly next week.

“But not up to the levels we had during the snow melt,” Schmidt said. “We are not looking to reach those major flood levels.”

National Weather Service hydrologists calculate river levels by measuring the soil’s moisture, how much snow is on the ground, the current and forecasted temperatures and what precipitation is expected to come.

“People don’t want to hear it right now, but the best thing would be snow because it would take two, three, four days to melt,” Schmidt said.

Those calculations give them a volume of water which they can equate to a river level.

Schmidt warns river communities this could all change if the patterns shift and Minnesota gets more precipitation in April.

“Don’t pack up everything yet,” he said. “Keep an eye out on the weather forecast.”

Heather Brown