It's an oddly exciting day at the National Park I work for (Mississippi National River and Recreation Area)--the river is flooding and it's odd to be excited by the flood and watch what the water will do. Since our visitor center is based in the Science Museum lobbby, we're right on the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN. We have an awesome view. That's a giant tree working it's way down towards Raspberry Island (which is mostly submerged at this point).
St. Paul has closed Sheperd Rd. from behind the museum all the way to Hwy 61 in preparation for the flood. One of the officers I spoke with said parts were already under water. I spent a majority of Sunday afternoon roving and interpreting the flooding--what ranger wouldn't rather be outdoors on a sunny day? The river is in flood stage at 14 feet and when I was at the river it was at 16.4 feet. It's expected to crest on Wednesday at 19.5 feet!
Across the way, Harriet Island was flooding. The police were trying to clear people off of it, but would have a better shot at herding cats. As soon as they would get one group to move on, 12 more people would walk in from the other side. Once church let out, the Harried flooded with people and the police seemed to give up. I have a feeling that tonight some serious barricades will go up and Harriet Island will be off limits for real tomorrow.
The Padleford boats are still docked at Harriet but barges have been placed in front of them to prevent debris from damaging them. If you watched the water up against the barges you could really get an idea of how strong the current was flowing. Here's a video I digiscoped:
Did you hear the house finch singing on territory in the background? Here he is:
He was duking it out with another male for space in this tree outside the museum--prime real estate in downtown St. Paul and relatively safe from flooding...I wonder if the river will affect some of our early nesters like wood ducks, mallards and Canada geese?
If you want to watch some of the flooding, there's a great view from the Science Museum and be sure to visit us at the Mississippi River Visitor Center in the lobby. To watch the predictions for the crest, check out NOAA's website.