(This story was originally published June 15, 2021.)By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Meteorologists are watching the skies with hopes rain will help bring river levels back up to normal.

Along the St. Croix River in Stillwater, historic low river levels are expected in days if there is no rain.

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“The river level at Stillwater is near where it was on July of ’88 so that is kind of getting towards the low end,” said NOAA Meteorologist Michael Griesinger.

Back in 1988, the St. Croix River was at its lowest mark: 75.10 feet. With high temperatures and no rain, the river could sink below that in just a few days.

Credit: Chisago County Sheriff’s Office

Many who come to Stillwater to look at the river remember the water always being too high, not the other way around.

“The last time my husband and I were down here, like you said, the water was far beyond, you probably couldn’t even come down past that path,” said Stacey Roberson.

“We’ve had the kids pulled out of school a few times to sandbag. It’s a dicey deal sometimes,” said Mary from Stillwater.

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Although they love walking along the river and counting the water marks from previous floods, many hope this drought will end soon.

“Some rain would be nice, I know our garden is in desperate need,” added Roberson.

“I just don’t want torrents of rain, you know, where we got the wood floating all over the place in the river,” said Mary.

Griesinger says what happens over the next two weeks is crucial to what happens this summer and fall with water levels.

“We’re still early in this season, in our wet season, so we can make up ground,” he said.

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The hope is that rain falls in places where Minnesota rivers originate, allowing it all to flow down and into place to avoid receding water.

Reg Chapman