Stories tagged St. Paul

The Mississippi River @ downtown St. Paul is at "action stage" right now - 12.63' - headed to "flood stage" by midnight. Yesterday, it was rising about an inch an hour, but the cold has slowed things down just a bit. And the continued cold means that the river should crest (the first time, anyway) quite a bit lower than earlier predictions. Visit the Hydrological Prediction Service for details, or follow the whole flood saga on Science Buzz.

3-23-11, 8:30pm forecast: In this ONE respect, winter's comeback is a good thing...
3-23-11, 8:30pm forecast: In this ONE respect, winter's comeback is a good thing...Courtesy National Weather Service

A new gigapan is up. It is a very snowy version with much higher water. What a difference two days makes...

http://gigapan.org/gigapans/73337/

BTW: pay special attention to the lack of a really long train that didn't pass by. :)

Here is a gigapan shot I took of the river yesterday. I will try to take a panorama every other day(at least). I intend to capture more of the river west in future shots.

http://gigapan.org/gigapans/73228/

BTW: pay special attention to the crazy time capture of a really long train that was passing by.

Please pass on the link to whomever you feel would be interested.

The National Weather Service has updated the 7-day outlook for the Mississippi River at downtown St. Paul. So far, the news is good: we're looking at 18.3' by the end of the week -- equivalent to last year's flood event, and a hassle, surely, but nowhere near the record. However,

"SIGNIFICANT UNCERTAINTY REMAINS ABOUT HOW MUCH SNOW WILL MELT THROUGH
TUESDAY...AND HOW MUCH RAIN AND SNOW WILL FALL...AND HOW MUCH OF THIS
COMBINED TOTAL WATER WILL ACTUALLY MAKE IT INTO THE RIVER SYSTEMS...BEFORE
COLDER AIR MOVES INTO THE AREA LATER IN THE WEEK.

THE CURRENT RIVER FORECASTS ONLY TAKE INTO ACCOUNT 24 HOURS OF FORECAST
PRECIPITATION...HENCE THROUGH 7 AM ON MONDAY. SO THESE FORECAST DO NOT
INCLUDE THE PRECIPITATION EVENT EXPECTED TO IMPACT THE AREA ON TUESDAY
AND WEDNESDAY. ADDITIONAL RAINFALL MAY CAUSE RIVER LEVELS TO RISE EVEN
HIGHER THAN CURRENTLY FORECAST.THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL MONITOR
THIS DEVELOPING SITUATION AND ISSUE FOLLOW UP STATEMENTS."

So stay tuned. The 7-day outlook gets updated as needed.

Plot showing 7-day forecast issued at 8:45 pm, 3/20: 18.3' is WAY lower than 26.4'. But this forecast doesn't take into account the rain/snow we're going to get this week. A heavy rain could take us back into record territory.
Plot showing 7-day forecast issued at 8:45 pm, 3/20: 18.3' is WAY lower than 26.4'. But this forecast doesn't take into account the rain/snow we're going to get this week. A heavy rain could take us back into record territory.Courtesy Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service

The Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service has released a new short-term forecast for the Mississippi River at downtown St. Paul. (There's still too much uncertainty in the models to make a new crest prediction for the area.) We should see the river rise above flood stage by midday on Thursday, 3/24.

3-16-11 flood forecast
3-16-11 flood forecastCourtesy National Weather Service

Click on the image for a larger view.

Yesterday, Mayor Coleman declared a "state of local emergency." The declaration clears the way for the City to start tracking flood-related expenses, in the hopes of getting some of them reimbursed. And there will be lots of expenses this year. There's a 50% chance of a record crest (beating the high water mark of 26.4' in 1965), and a 70% of a crest above 17'. Workers at the downtown airport began installing the flood wall yesterday, and residents of Lowertown and the Upper Landing are being asked to have a plan in case they're evacuated. The lower portion of Lilydale Regional Park, parts of Harriet Island, and the low-lying areas of Shepard/Warner Road will likely be submerged.

With several days of above-freezing temperatures and some rain in the forecast, the National Weather Service expects we could start to see flooding in downtown St. Paul by the weekend.

Visit the City of St. Paul flood preparation page, or check out the Science Buzz 2011 flood feature.

Oh, and here's our shot-a-day rivercam, and our hourly-image feed.

Mar
14
2011

Buzzketeers, it's a big problem.

A ginormous, hulking, frozen, messy problem.

See, here in St. Paul, we've had a very snowy winter. (As of today, it has been the seventh snowiest winter on record. And the snow season isn't over yet.) When the City plows the streets, they have to put the snow somewhere. And one of the places they put it is the parking lot of the St. Paul Saints Midway Stadium, on Energy Park Drive.

The result?
Mt. Midway: Looking NNW from the few open parking spaces off Energy Park Drive. See those little bamboo fronds at the peak? Who needs Hawaii?
Mt. Midway: Looking NNW from the few open parking spaces off Energy Park Drive. See those little bamboo fronds at the peak? Who needs Hawaii?Courtesy Liza Pryor

The 550-spot parking lot is completely -- and I mean COMPLETELY -- covered with snow. It's 30, even 50, feet deep. And it goes from Energy Park Drive north to the train tracks, and from the stadium west to the end of the property. It's impressive, peeps.

It goes on...: and on...and on...I'm standing on the snow pile, with the peak with the tree to my left (west) looking north toward the train tracks.
It goes on...: and on...and on...I'm standing on the snow pile, with the peak with the tree to my left (west) looking north toward the train tracks.Courtesy Liza Pryor

And here's the problem, friends: the St. Paul Saints season opener is May 8th. And there's no way all this snow is going to melt before then. Baseball needs its parking lot back.

More pictures of Mt. Midway.

So how can we get rid of the snow? Trucking it away isn't an option, and minimal use of fossil fuels is a good thing. Buzzers, it's time to go all Mythbusters here and submit your ideas. If you've got a good one, you might get to see it in action.

Mar
18
2010

For hundreds of years, thousands of people have connected with the Mississippi River. Today, we sometimes forget that the Mississippi is always flowing through our fair cities, at least until it floods.

In this moment, the river can be an extraordinarily humanizing resource. When we stand together on the Science Museum's plaza, peek over the rails on Kellogg Blvd.'s parkland, or sit near the steps on Harriet Island, all gazing at the flooding river, we are not accountants, scientists, or novelists but everyday people witnessing an event that still produces the same awe, fear, romance, or dread that thousands of people for hundreds of years before us have experienced when they too watched or experienced a flood.

In future posts, my colleagues and I will chat about the impact of flooding on the Mississippi's landscape and try providing some historical perspectives on river floods.

If you'd like to learn more about our National Park Service unit, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, please visit us at www.nps.gov/miss.

-Ranger Brian

Check out our full feature on the 2010 Mississippi River flooding.

NOAA/USGS and US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) forecast charts are showing a new predicted crest for the Mississippi River here in downtown St. Paul at a whopping 19.8' late on 3/25.

That's 2 feet higher than predicted yesterday, and would make the 2010 flood #7 on the top-ten list of recorded floods at this site.

Check out our full feature on the 2010 Mississippi River flooding.