Minnesota dealing with more snow cover than 1965, raising flooding concerns

March 04, 2019 10:01 AM

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service said the snow cover in Minnesota stands at 18 inches through February.

In 1965, February snow cover was recorded at 13 inches, which means the state's snow pack is 5 inches higher than the year many parts of the state, including the St. Croix River, saw record-setting floodwaters.


Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS federal agencies have already talked to him and other leaders in cities and towns up and down the St. Croix River Valley.

"If March is similar to the March we had in 1965, then it is all hands on deck," said Kozlowski. "That means the National Guard, the high school kids and everyone in Stillwater pitching in to help sandbag and protect the city."

Kozlowski said he doesn't want to set any new records this year in the flooding category, but if the troubling high waters come down the St. Croix River in 2019, cities are better equipped to handle the flooding than in 1965.

"Many cities, including Stillwater, have invested a lot of money since 1965 to make sure we're ready," said Kozlowski. "Plus, we have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers here to help us with planning and boots on the ground in high water spots."

Charlie Webster, who lives in Stillwater, told KSTP he remembers the flooding of 1965 when he was a grade school student at St. Michael School in Stillwater.

"I remember Mother Superior coming into our room and telling us we were all leaving immediately," said Webster. "Then she told us we were all going downtown to sandbag the river and help save Stillwater."

KSTP Chief Meteorologist Dave Dahl said the next two to three weeks into March will determine whether flooding will rival 1965's records, but right now, that outlook is not encouraging for those who live and work in flood plains throughout Minnesota.

"Right now, if we continue with below-average temperatures and average to above-average March snowfall, it is then shaping up that 2019 will be close to, and possibly greater than, the record flood levels of 1965."

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Jay Kolls

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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