Flood notebookThe risk of major flooding has decreased due to recent cold weather, but some Red Wing area roads and parks are still seeing closures.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
The risk of major flooding has decreased due to recent cold weather, but some Red Wing area roads and parks are still seeing closures.
On Friday, the Mississippi River was measured at 13.38 feet, the same as Thursday's reading. Minor flood stage is 14 feet.
City officials said Friday's level should be the extent of the first crest. Depending on rainfall, water levels are expected to remain steady over the weekend and begin dropping next week, leveling out around 13 feet.
But once warm weather returns, the water likely will rise again. Predictions show another potential crest during the week of April 13.
Xcel Energy prepared for flood
Flood waters are still feet below risk levels near the Prairie Island nuclear plant, Xcel Energy officials said, but the plant is prepared for high water.
There is a formalized process for flood preparations, officials said. At specific water levels, various precautions are scheduled to take place, such as sandbagging or moving materials that could get wet.
The level of the road to the plant was raised after extensive flooding in the 2000s, so there is little risk of the road ending up underwater.
The dry casks that store spent fuel also pose no risk during flood season, officials said. The 17-foot casks weigh 122 tons when fully loaded, making it physically impossible for them to float or move during flooding.
The first tow and barges of 2011 passed through U.S. Lock & Dam No. 3 on the Mississippi River on Thursday.
The John Rivers, pushing six barges, went through the local lock at 9:22 a.m. Thursday and came back through at 1:24 p.m. Friday.
The trip is another sign that flood risks are lower than anticipated. The timing of the trip is on the early side for river traffic, lock officials said - it usually starts in mid-April.
Levee Road and Ikata Drive are closed and will remain closed until river reading gets below 10 feet, which could take three to four weeks. East Fifth Street by Barn Bluff closed Friday and will stay closed through the weekend.
Colvill Park closed Wednesday and will remain closed until the river recedes. Parts of Bay Point Park are underwater, and the turnaround on the east end of the park by the flagpole has been closed. Other areas of the park might close as water levels change.
VCB still open, Arts Association moves
The Visitors & Convention Bureau and train depot currently remain open. Should waters reach the VCB, it will move to the basement of the St. James Hotel.
The Red Wing Arts Association temporarily has moved to 305 Bush St.