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West Metro Residents Warned of Potential Flooding along Minnehaha Creek

Updated: 05/31/2014 10:47 AM
Created: 05/30/2014 7:32 PM KSTP.com
By: Cassie Hart

Edina and St. Louis Park officials are warning of possible flooding of Minnehaha Creek with more rain in the forecast for the weekend.

Edina city officials say the creek is at an elevated risk for flooding because the water level is already high. The creek is currently unsafe for recreational use.

Lake Minnetonka water levels remain high, and water is flowing over the spillway north of the Gray's Bay Dam. The high water declaration for Lake Minnetonka remains in effect, requiring watercraft operators to adhere to additional minimum wake restrictions.

According to the National Weather Service, the area will receive two inches of rain or more over the next five to seven days. Public Works said the expected rain coupled with already high water levels mean area lakes and streams may spill over their banks.

“The city of Edina has started filling sandbags for at-risk homes,” Public Works Director Brian Olson said. “There are about a dozen or so homes that could be at risk if the [Minnehaha] Creek continues to rise.”

Olson notes that sand bags will be available and are meant to protect homes from rising waters -- not yards and patios.

Residents who experience flooding or think they are at risk should call the Edina Police Department at 911 and request sandbags be dropped off.

Edina Fire Chief Tom Schmitz urges residents to stay away from the creek.

“The water is rising and moving quickly," he said. "Only a few inches of moving water can sweep an adult off their feet. It’s especially important to keep children away from the creek.”

If rains become heavy enough to cause street flooding, Schmitz said drivers should never drive through standing water.

“It’s difficult to determine the depth of standing water, and drivers can easily become stranded,” Schmitz said.

Minnehaha Creek Watershed District staff will be monitoring water levels and coordinating with the National Weather Service, Hennepin County Emergency Management and local communities. 

Here are some flood safety tips from Hennepin County Emergency Management:

1. Do not walk through moving water.

2. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. 

3. Do not drive into flooded areas – if you can’t see the road you cannot be sure the road is still completely intact.

According to the National Weather Service, the Twin Cities has received 13.82 inches of rain so far in 2014. It's 4.24 inches more than normal, putting 2014 as the fourth wettest year on record. 

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