Ahead of potentially historic flooding, here's what to know (and do) to prepare

Redwood River in flood stage
The Redwood River flows in Ramsey Park in Redwood Falls, Minn., in March 2019. The St. Croix and Mississippi could see major flooding in the coming weeks.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News

Updated: 2:20 p.m.

In the coming weeks, the St. Croix River is expected to reach levels not seen since 2001, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts.

Major flooding could make its way to the Mississippi River this season, too, thanks to heavy winter precipitation and a slow thaw so far — meaning this spring's thaw could be faster than usual, leading to flooding.

You can find your general flood risk by typing in your address on FEMA’s website.

To view current flood forecasts in your region, click the following links from the National Weather Service:

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And if you’re wanting to enjoy the spring weather, check out the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ trail conditions and state forest closures first.

How can you prepare for flooding?

The Minnesota DNR, in partnership with North Dakota State University Extension, recommends people:

  • Move valuables and hazardous materials (like paint, oil and cleaning supplies) stored in basements upstairs or to higher locations.

  • Have a plan for pets and escape routes out of the area. Gather any backup supplies, including food, water, medications and pet food.

  • Move snow away from your house, especially if the ground is sloped.

  • Shut off electricity in areas that could flood. Also turn off power at the fuse box, and put appliances up on wood or cement blocks.

  • Make sure your downspouts are in place.

Find more information on sump pumps, basement drains and fuel tanks on the NDSU website.

As for driving in a flood, the Minnesota Department of Transportation says don’t.

  • Don’t drive around barricades: When a road is closed, it’s illegal to traverse it.

  • Six inches of water causes loss of control and possible stalling in most cars. Twice that will float many vehicles, and two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.

Check state, county and city road conditions before heading out.

How can you help?

Even if you don’t live in a flood zone, you can still get involved. Cities across the state are asking folks to sandbag areas to mitigate water damage.

Stillwater, Minn. is expecting major flooding and is looking for volunteers to lay sandbags along the shoreline downtown. Shifts are from Monday, March 27 to Friday, March 31. People can sign up on the Community Thread website.

Last year, Kabetogama Township and Crookston, Minn. both asked for volunteer help around this time. Check your city’s website for volunteer needs.

Other ways to help include assisting neighbors or family members in prepping their homes, offering to watch pets if you live outside a flood zone and lending a hand during cleanup.