Cities upstream from St. Michael and Hanover along the Crow River are seeing historic water levels thanks to a combination of snowfall amounts throughout the 2022-2023 winter and recent rainfall that his hit Wright County this week. But it’s a heavy system of rain on Thursday, followed by cold rain and snow into Friday, that has forecasters worried this could push communities like Delano and Rockford into “action” mode as that water makes its way into tributaries and ditches, eventually winding its way into the river.
As of Wednesday, April 20, the river was cresting at about 19 feet, 4 inches in Delano, nearly 3 feet above flood stage and similar to levels seen in April of 1997. Floodwalls were being deployed in downtown Delano, as crews worked on Bridge Street and on the east and west banks of the river to protect the historic area.
Downstream in Rockford, the Crow has yet to crest, with the river very near the major flood stage level of 14 feet. The north tributary of the river, which pours into the Mississippi at Otsego, is nearing its forecasted mark of 14 feet, 7 inches, which it hit in 2001, and would surpass levels seen in 1997.
The concern is the nearly inch of rain forecast for Thursday and Friday, along with another quarter inch of rain/snow mix set for Friday/Saturday. That could create problems, in Rockford, where sewer systems in buildings near the river can back up if the level is 15 feet.
The current forecasts are well below historic flooding that took place in 2014 thanks to June rainfall. In that year, the river climbed to more than 21 feet in Delano, the highest in recent history and second highest all time.