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Flood watch in effect for Mississippi River at Aitkin, Fort Ripley

The watch is in effect until further notice as the river is expected to reach flood stage Friday in Aitkin and Monday in Fort Ripley.

Five day forecast graphic
Contributed / National Weather Service in Duluth

BRAINERD โ€” The National Weather Service in Duluth issued a flood watch for the Mississippi River at Aitkin and Fort Ripley.

The watch is in effect until further notice, the National Weather Service reported Tuesday, April 11. The weather service previously reported flood warnings for Fort Ripley and Aitkin were possible by the end of this week due to above normal temperatures causing a rapid snowmelt and increased river flows.

At 1 p.m. Wednesday the Mississippi River in Aitkin was at 10.9 feet. The flood stage at Aitkin is 13 feet, which is expected to be reached Friday morning. There is a 95% chance of minor and moderate flooding this spring in Aitkin, the National Weather Service in Duluth previously reported.

When the Mississippi River in Aitkin reaches 13 feet the boat ramp at the Aitkin City Park floods, a few driveways in the Cedarbrook area become covered with water and minor farmland flooding occurs. At 15 feet a few homes in the Cedarbrook area would be surrounded by water and the city park would be flooded.

Historic high crests of the Mississippi River in Aitkin:

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  • 22.49 feet in 1950, 
  • 19.5 feet in 1905, 
  • 19.3 feet in 1916,
  • 18.8 feet in 1944,
  • 18.77 feet in 1948. 

Recent high crests were:

  • 15.38 feet in 2020, 
  • 12.59 feet in 2018, 
  • 13.02 feet in 2017, 
  • 14.17 feet in 2016,
  • 12.26 feet in 2015.

At 9 a.m. Wednesday the Mississippi River at Fort Ripley was at 7.18 feet. The flood stage at Fort Ripley is 10.5 feet, which is expected to be reached by Monday afternoon. At 10.5 feet, flooding of low lying areas adjacent to the Mississippi River is expected.
There is a 95% chance this spring of minor flooding and a 61% chance of moderate flooding at Fort Ripley, the weather service reported.

Moderate flooding at Fort Ripley occurs when the river reaches 12.5 feet and major flooding occurs when the river reaches 26 feet.

Historic high crests of the Mississippi River in Fort Ripley:

  • 14.30 feet in 1966, 
  • 14.15 feet in 1997, 
  • 13.84 feet in 2001, 
  • 13.6 feet in 1965, 
  • 13.3 feet in 1950. 

Recent high crests were:

  • 11.36 feet in 2020, 
  • 11.05 feet in 2016,
  • 10.34 feet in 2015, 
  • 9.71 feet in 2005,
  • 6.90 feet in 2004.

A flood advisory, issued Monday by the National Weather Service in Duluth, also remained in effect for Aitkin, Cass and Crow Wing counties into Thursday afternoon. The advisory was a warning to residents to be cautious as water could creep on to roads, pond near buildings and swell waterways.
Temperatures will remain above average Thursday, with a high of 67 degrees, and Friday, with a high of 72 degrees, but starting Thursday and into the weekend there is a chance for precipitation in the Brainerd area. Thursdayโ€™s forecast calls for a 20% chance of rain, Friday thereโ€™s a 40% chance of rain and thunderstorms and rain and thunderstorms are likely Saturday morning. The rain is expected to switch over to snow Sunday and Monday.

The National Weather Service in Duluth asked area residents to report observed flooding to local emergency services, law enforcement and to the National Weather Service in Duluth by calling. 800-685-8612.

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