River level press release from the city - Tuesday, March 22

The city issued a small press release this morning about the current state of the river level:

3/22/2011 8:40 AM >>>

As of 8AM Tuesday 3/22/2011 Northfield has received nearly an inch of rain since Monday. The Straight River between Faribault and Owatonna has received about 1.25 inches of rain. Late Monday the river level had receded a few inches from its earlier peak, but during the last few hours it has risen back to Monday's peak and continues to rise. Depending on the final amount of rain we receive when the storm moves out of the area on Wed. we expect to see the river rise an additional 12 to 24 inches. If the final rainfall exceeds 2 inches in the upstream areas we might see the water rise further. Currently the river is approximately 3 feet below the 100-year flood elevation and 5 feet below the peak of the Sept. 2010 flood.

The Public Works Department has roughly 3,000 sandbags prepared to protect city facilities, particularly the Safety Center. The Safety Center parking lot sits close to the 100-year flood elevation. The present plan is to build a 1 foot high sandbag berm around the perimeter of the parking lot, should protection become necessary. The additional sandbags necessary will be filled Tuesday morning and a decision on building the sandbag berm around the Safety Center parking lot will be made around noon. An end to rain or a switch to snow will help to lower the eventual crest of the river level.

City Staff continue to monitor all available data from the National Weather Service, US Geological Survey, local and state emergency management services, and to collect data from our own river gauges. Links to automated river gauges and precipitation data are provided on the city's flood website. Further updates will be transmitted if conditions change.