With rain storms capping off the end of last week and start of this week, Scott County officials are on the lookout for more flooding.

But National Weather Service officials say quick-moving showers like Monday's aren't expected to push the Minnesota River or Sand Creek out of their banks. 

According to service hydrologist Craig Schmidt, it will take a much larger storm system to make a noticeable impact on river levels.

"If we were to get a major thunderstorm complex, one of those that drops 4, 5 or 6 inches of rain, then we would still be really susceptible to flooding if that were to happen," Schmidt said. "But these storms that are dropping 1 to 2 inches of rain over a 24-hour period, those won't really affect us anymore."

Monday's rain was lighter than the initial forecast, with moderate storms dropping only a half inch or three-quarters of an inch of rain in the area over several hours.

According to modeling, the rain should only add a small bump to the already elevated water levels in the Minnesota River. In Jordan the river is expected to rise from 28.9 feet to 29 feet over the next 48 hours, cresting Tuesday or Wednesday and begin dropping again. A day later, the river is expected to crest at just under 710 feet in Savage, and start to fall by the end of the week.

Scott County Emergency Management Director Scott Haas said the second river crest is expected to be lower than the first, but the area will be at risk for flooding for some time. 

The mildness of Monday's storm is a welcome change for residents still recovering from a long winter that turned into a flooded spring.

Earlier this month, Scott County joined 37 counties across the state in declaring a state of emergency. The move was an attempt by officials to try and qualify for federal aid dollars that would help recoup some of the over $620,000 in damage related to flooding in March. 

All the snow and rain has caused plenty of headaches in the area. On April 17, the bluff side of the southbound and northbound lanes of Highway 169 south of St. Peter were closed due to multiple mudslides. A small mudslide downed a utility pole and shut down County Road 6 near Blakeley Township, southwest of Belle Plaine, on Friday night until Saturday afternoon, Haas said.

Schmidt said a green spring could be part of a natural solution to the county's flood and mud problems. The budding of trees and greening of grass will help draw some of the moisture out of the saturated ground and away from the rivers. If growing really takes off, Schmidt said the area could be out of a flood risk by mid-May. 

"I think there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but we're still out there a ways," Schmidt said. 

Meg Britton-Mehlisch is a regional reporter covering Scott County for Southwest News Media.


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