Mississippi River flood warnings remain, water expected to fluctuate in Aitkin
There are three gauges currently in flood stage out of 100 total gauges the National Weather Service keeps track of covering much of Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula. Those three are in the lakes region — in Aitkin, Brainerd and Fort Ripley.
The weather service’s predictions for the Mississippi River at Aitkin looks like a roller coaster track or a wave as it’s predicted to rise again next week but not back to major flood levels. Aitkin reports the river apparently crested June 28 at 18.71 feet. Aitkin County remains in a local state of emergency.
Friday afternoon in Aitkin the river was at 17.07 feet and in moderate flooding. Flood stage begins at 12 feet. But the weather service predicts the river will climb on Sunday to reach 17.4 feet Monday night before it begins to fall.
The slow, no-wake zones continue for Big Sandy Reservoir and associated waters, including Aitkin Lake and Minnewawa, Fleming, Gun, Horseshoe and Wilkins lakes. Other lakes are being considered on individual merits and some no-wake zones only applied to the 300 feet closest to shore. Rulings for each lake are listed on the Aitkin County website at www.co.aitkin.mn.us.
The Aitkin Campground remains closed and some all-terrain vehicle trails are also closed. The Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office Thursday reported water was continuing to go down on the river and at Big Sandy Lake but a number of roads remain water covered and closed.
Flooding around Big Sandy Lake was described as severe with sandbags still available for residents from the Aitkin County Emergency Management. Emergency supplies of food, water and cleaning supplies are available at the Aitkin County Sheriff’s office, Grace Lutheran Church and the Hill City Snowmobile Club building.
Flood victims were able to bring debris like Sheetrock, shingles, wiring, furniture, carpet, small appliances and more to the McGregor Transfer Station or Garrison Disposal in Aitkin free of charge. For more information on available services, contact the sheriff’s office at (888) 900-2138.
The Mississippi River in Brainerd set a new record crest. On June 29, the river was at 17.58 before it started to go down. The previous record crest was 16.7 feet set on April 30, 2001. Flood stage begins at 13 feet.
As of Friday afternoon, the river was at 16.58 feet in Brainerd and still in moderate flood stage.
Friday, the National Weather Service in Duluth issued an urban and small stream flood advisory for Aitkin and Crow Wing counties, including Brainerd, and southern Cass County.
During the day Friday thunderstorms and rain showers continued to move across southern Cass and much of Crow Wing and Aitkin counties on top of 1 to 3 inches of rain received overnight. Heavy rain was still part of the forecast for later Friday, which could add to saturated soils and water woes.
Washouts were reported on County Road 22 about 2 miles north of Aitkin and 241 Street and Grouse Street near Big Sandy Lake.
At Fort Ripley, the Mississippi continued to be in minor flood stage at 11.5 feet, a foot-and-a-half above flood stage but down from 11.92 feet on July 3. The weather service noted the river may rise. Flood stage begins at 10 feet.