Spring flooding

With rivers rising again, St. Paul postpones reopening of Shepard/Warner Road

A roadway is covered by floodwaters
A stretch of Shepard/Warner Road near downtown St. Paul is covered by floodwaters from the Mississippi River on April 25.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News

Plans to reopen a long stretch of Shepard/Warner Road near downtown St. Paul on Monday have been thwarted by heavy rain that’s sent river levels rising once again.

The city of St. Paul last week announced plans to reopen a three-mile segment of the well-traveled route to and from downtown by Monday evening. It was closed on April 16 as the Mississippi River rose due to snowmelt.

That initial flood crest passed, and the Mississippi fell below flood stage — but then storms over the past week dropped more than a half-foot of rain on parts of southern Minnesota. Runoff from those storms will be making its way down the Minnesota River and then into the Mississippi River in the coming days.

The current river forecast calls for the Mississippi River to rise about 6 feet by next Sunday, to a level of 16.1 feet — considered to be moderate flood stage.

That’s a couple feet below the flood crest recorded last month — but close enough that the city has postponed reopening Shepard/Warner Road.

The second round of flooding will also prolong the closures of some riverside parks in St. Paul, along with Water Street through Lilydale Regional Park.

Upstream along the Minnesota River, rising water levels prompted the Minnesota Department of Transportation to close stretches of State Highways 19 and 93 near Henderson on Sunday.

Fort Snelling State Park reopens

Fort Snelling State Park, near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, reopened on a limited basis Monday following a closure due to spring flooding along the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers.

Some of the park’s most popular amenities — like the hiking trail on Pike Island, Picnic Island and the Minnesota River boat launch — remain closed. The Minnehaha Trail between the state park and Minnehaha Regional Park will also close on Thursday for a long-term reconstruction project.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said the Snelling Lake fishing pier was displaced by flooding, and many trails remain muddy and affected by flood debris.

DNR officials said they’re monitoring river levels, and the potential for another closure.

Other waterways are not forecast to rise that much, if at all.

As of Monday, the south-flowing St. Croix River in Stillwater, Minn. was forecast to rise a couple feet over the coming days but stay below flood stage.

The Mississippi River upstream from the Twin Cities is forecast to keep falling, as is the Red River in Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks, N.D.

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