MONTEVIDEO -- Water levels on the Minnesota River are continuing to rise at a faster-than-expected pace, but current forecasts are not sounding alarm bells for either Montevideo or Granite Falls.
The National Weather Service projects that the Minnesota River will reach flood stage of 14 feet in Montevideo at 7 a.m. this morning. It will continue to rise to major flood stage at 17.9 feet by 7 a.m. on Tuesday, according to hydrologist Diane Cooper with the Chanhassen office of the National Weather Service.
That's earlier than originally expected, but the elevation is below the 18.5-foot threshold at which the city would need to begin stopping sanitary sewer services in lower areas such as the Smith Addition. Montevideo has sandbagging supplies on hand and is preparing to raise the levee on U.S. Highway 212, but the current projections show water levels similar to last year.
A similar situation is projected in Granite Falls, where the river is expected to reach flood stage Thursday night and continue to rise to 891 feet, according to the Weather Service.
Cooper said the current flood forecast shows the waters pretty much staying at the 17.9-foot and 891-foot flood stages in both communities for the next several days.
She cautioned that the Weather Service is not sure whether this represents a crest. If additional precipitation reaches the region, water levels would rise, she warns.
The Weather Service is urging all residents in the Upper Minnesota River basin and along tributaries such as Hawk Creek to keep a close eye on river levels. Ice jams remain a threat, and any deviation from the current weather forecast could lead to greater flows and higher elevations.