Delano Braces for Historic Flooding as Crow River Continues to Rise

Updated: 06/23/2014 6:49 AM By: Beth McDonough

Delano is bracing for the kind of flooding it hasn't seen in nearly 50 years.

The Crow River is expected to crest at 21 feet, which is even higher than initially predicted of 20.6 feet. On Sunday, the river kept rising; at nearly 5 feet above major flood stage, flooding is a real threat.

It's especially concerning to Gina Fredrickson and her home, which is located on River Street. A road living up to its name, "my house sits pretty high; if I get nervous I'll leave," Fredrickson said.

The town's community response team built a levee from Highway 12 all the way through town to Central Park. Pumps are working to prevent water backups in homes. A temporary dike is doing its job -- protecting downtown Delano from natural disaster. The risk is at bay for now. 

The surging river became a spectacle. Families came to take in a view from the bridge as the river rushed by at record high levels.

"It's amazing," Melissa Rueckert of Watertown said. "I definitely want the kids to see these moments; I think it's amazing what mother nature can do."

Despite sturdy sandbags and busy pumps at the popular Three Crows Cafe, the water is proving to be too much too fast.

"We've had to do this two times before, but this is the worst," cafe owner Gina Coburn said.

Crews shut off power and gas at the cafe for safety's sake. 

Delano is best known to many Minnesotans as home to the state's largest Fourth of July celebration. Flooding could jeopardize that, City Councilman Dan Vick said.

"This is becoming a concern for me because it's only a week and a half away," Vick said. "How high will the river be?"

The mayor said there have been no evacuations. The levees are holding their own, but some of the dikes have leaked a bit because the ground is so saturated.