Flood notes: A break in the rain, but the rivers don't care

The Big Fork River
The Big Fork River at Big Falls South of International Falls runs very high Monday. Big Fork is one of many tributaries of the already swollen Rainy River.
John Enger/MPR News

Despite a break in the rain Saturday, rivers in Minnesota are rising. Rivers are like that.

Here's some flood-related news for the day:

Rivers rising

The National Weather Service in Chanhassen is keeping an eye on river levels, especially in central and southern Minnesota. Forecaster Joe Calderone says rivers will remain high near Mankato, New Ulm, St. Peter, Henderson and Jordan going into the first part of next week.

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He says there are chances of scattered rain and thunderstorms every day through the middle of next week.

"Some areas may well see nothing from one day to the next whereas locations nearby may get anywhere from a half inch to an inch and a half because we're still in this pattern where we'll get some thunderstorms, they've got very weak motion to them and they're all capable of producing very high amounts of rainfall."

Calderone says a number of rivers could cause moderate to major flooding in the days to come, including the Crow, Minnesota and Mississippi rivers.

The Mississippi river near downtown St Paul is expected to crest above flood stage around Wednesday. The Metropolitan Airports Commission is starting to build a new flood wall for Holman Field.

• Related: Mississippi River flooding: Here's how it will look (NewsCut)

Rep. Kline tours flooded areas

Second District Republican Congressman John Kline says he's surprised at the extent of flood damage in Scott and Rice Counties.

Kline toured those areas Saturday to assess the damage due to heavy rains over the past several days.

Kline says the damage between Belle Plaine and Blakely is so extensive, it will take a long time to repair:

"Terrain is really steep there, falls off very steeply and very rapidly ... by the side of some of these roads. And where the roads are more than half way fallen in, that's a long project."

Reducing flood risk in Minneapolis

Opening a gate on the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock Friday is helping to lower water levels in Minneapolis.

Patrick Moes, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Paul district, says the action allows more water to pass through to reduce a potential flood risk upstream.

"It's very minimal but even a couple of inches can impact certain people. The peak flows in the next couple of days we'll have about 10,000 to 14,000 cubic feet of water per second running through the chamber itself. And to kind of give you an idea of the volume of water, that's about 3 or 4 seconds, enough water to fill an Olympic swimming pool."

Moes says the effect is small but even lowering the water level a couple of inches can make a major difference for nearby business and residents.

Federal disaster assistance likely sought

Emergency-management director Kris Eide says Minnesota can request federal assistance if the statewide damages top $7.3 million. Eide says right now damage estimates are between $5 million and $6 million, with just a handful of counties in Minnesota reporting.

"We're still fighting the flood in other places and it hasn't gone within the banks of the river so we can't even see that damage right now. So it's getting to be in the area of a major disaster."

Heavy rains create problems for Minnesota marinas

This year's record-setting rains in Minnesota have made rivers swell and lakes overflow. Ironically, that's driving away business at marinas on the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers.

A St. Paul Pioneer Press report says fast-flowing rivers frighten away boaters, and no-wake rules take the fun out of being on the water. Waterlogged timber also flows with the rivers, jamming up against docks and piers.

St. Paul Yacht Club manager Roger Anderson says no one's taking to the water because it's too dangerous. He says timber in the Mississippi River created such a logjam that he paid a barge crew about $20,000 to break it up.

At a Lakeland marina called Beanie's at Maui's Landing, employees are taking precautions in case rising waters force them to close.

Flooding postpones Minnesota showboat performances

High water on the Mississippi River has forced the Minnesota Centennial Showboat to postpone a week of shows.

The University of Minnesota says performances of ``Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'' from June 20 to June 28 have been postponed.

Tickets purchased for those performances will be honored for future dates.

Managing director Peg Guilfoyle says the showboat has tried to let everyone who bought a ticket know about the flooding and how to re-book reservations. Guilfoyle says the showboat players have never had to postpone due to high water on St. Paul's Harriet Island.

The high water has not damaged the showboat. Performances are planned to resume July 1 and will continue through Aug. 16 as scheduled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.