St. Croix crests, level forecast to recede this week

STAFF REPORT

The St. Croix River level crested at just below 86 feet early Friday evening and is forecast to recede the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service.

The St. Croix reached a crest of 85.99 feet about 5:15 p.m. Friday, according to NWS Hydrologist Diane Cooper.

"That’s kind of relative. It kind of hovered there about a good six or seven hours," she said.

Last week’s rise in the St. Croix River was attributed to backwater from a rising Mississippi River at Lock and Dam No. 2 in Hastings. The NWS issued a flood warning for Washington and Dakota counties in Minnesota and Pierce County in Wisconsin due to the rising Mississippi.

The Mississippi River also crested over the weekend in Hastings and is slowly receding.

With a relatively dry forecast in the St. Croix Valley this week, Cooper said both the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers would continue receding.

"At this point, yeah, we’re looking for a slow recession," she said.

However, St. Croix boaters must continue observing a slow, no wake order issued last week by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to prevent shoreline erosion.

Cooper said the rise in the Mississippi River level was due to persistent rainfall in May. Almost 14 inches of rain was reported in Minneapolis during May, almost six inches above normal for the month.

"After months of persistent drought conditions across much of the area, the dry trend was completely reversed in May," said an NWS statement. "While May was warmer than normal, it will be remembered for the high precipitation amounts, ending the drought for most areas."

The local NWS office also said spring 2012 was the warmest spring on record in central and southern Minnesota and one of the top five warmest springs in northern Minnesota.

The March-through-May period finished with an estimated average temperature of 54 degrees, the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1873. The old record was 52.5 degrees in 1977.

"The warm spring was helped out enormously by the warmest March recorded in Minnesota’s history," said the NWS statement. "The average temperature in the Twin Cities was 48.3 degrees, 15.5 degrees above normal. April followed with 50 degrees, 2.5 degrees above normal and May 2012 (through May 30) had 63.9 degrees, 4.9 degrees above normal."

This spring was the second wettest spring on record with 13.87 inches of rain, 5.87 inches above normal, just behind the 16.13 inches of rain in spring 1965.

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