In Chaska on March 27, 2011 at 6:14 pm
For the third time since we moved to historic downtown Chaska, the Minnesota River has reached flood stage.
Here are some photos from today:
For comparison, here’s today:
And here’s last September (just a pinch higher):
And here’s last March (lower):
And of course, I let the boys have some playtime with the remnants of the blizzard (snow still here three months later).
See previous Chaska flood posts here.
In Chaska on October 4, 2010 at 9:48 pm
In the upper part of the photo, you can see the Minnesota River completely covering State Highway 41. Below that is the closed bridge, of which I have more shots below. And the red circle is my house.
(Photo from Scott County Sheriff’s Office via Chaska Herald)
And here are some photos I took on Thursday evening:
The river last flooded in March of this year. Here are my 5 Lessons From the Chaska Flood from that one.
In Armchair Marketing, Chaska on March 25, 2010 at 2:12 pm
The Minnesota River flooding in downtown Chaska has crested and soon the Highway 41 bridge will be open. Everything will soon be back to normal.
What lessons can we learn from this event?
- People will park and walk downtown: For all the conversation bemoaning lack of downtown parking options, the flood proved that people will park and walk more than a block if the draw is compelling enough. People were parking on residential streets (even over by my house) to walk up the levy to see the river, then across the bridge, then back again. Nobody complained about lack of parking to go see the river. I don’t want to get all “Field of Dreams” on you, but building an attractive business climate is more important than building accessible parking lots.
- Downtown restaurants benefit from pedestrian traffic: Tommy’s Malt Shop has been packed for more than a week. Perhaps one of the only businesses to benefit from Highway 41′s closure, the restaurant’s location nestled next to the closed bridge perfectly poised it to fill the hungry bellies of the river gawkers. Although their normal customer flow may have been down, I expect Dunn Bros. benefited from some tourist traffic, too.
- Low speeds on Hwy 41 make for happy families: It sure was quiet downtown without those semi-trucks, but you know what else? I didn’t have to cling to my three year-old’s hand for fear he would be sucked off the sidewalk into the street with traffic whizzing by at 40+ mph. Where are those “Your Speed Is…” blinking signs that were promised and the 2nd Street stoplight? A slower downtown is a happy — and walkable — downtown.
- River development will always be less than ideal due to the difference between “normal” and “flood stage”: Unlike Saint Anthony, Stillwater and San Antonio, our piece of riverside fluctuates too greatly to build a romantic riverwalk lined with businesses and street vendors. Best Western’s small patio overlook built high atop the levy is the only — and most strategic — place for business to meet the river. Sad, but true.
- The community cares about downtown and will come together to protect it: Despite the misnomer that folks “up the hill” never come downtown, they do. There are critical businesses downtown that compel essential traffic (dentist, optomistrist, butcher shop, grocery, coffee shop, burger joint, movie theater, banking, insurance, city hall, DMV), but we need a constant drum beat of reasons other than natural disasters to spark incidental traffic and help keep antique shops, art galleries, restaurants and gift shops buzzing. River City Days only happens once a year, you know.
What lessons did you learn? What do we do now?
In Chaska on March 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm
Took the good camera to the closed bridge yesterday evening. According to the Chaska Herald, as of yesterday morning, the Minnesota River at Chaska was 26.60 ft with a flood stage of 18ft.
In Chaska on February 25, 2010 at 5:38 pm
According to the Chaska Herald, downtown could get a bit wet this spring:
“A wet fall and heavy winter snow indicate a potential for flooding in the Twin Cities and across Minnesota,” stated a press release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
That could include the potential closure of the Highway 41 bridge just south of downtown Chaska. According to the National Weather Service’s spring flood outlook, there is a 72 percent chance that the Minnesota River will encroach on Highway 41, and a 95 percent chance it will inundate Highway 101 in Shakopee.
The river crossing last closed due to flooding in April 2001. Back then, the Minnesota River rose to its third highest level of the century, peaking at 14.27 feet above flood stage, and leaving the roadway out of commission for nearly a month.
Using National Weather Service data for Jordan (the nearest measuring station) there is currently a 90 percent chance that the river will reach 6.4 feet above flood stage, requiring closure of the Chaska’s three flood gates.
Chaska city officials are confident that the levees will be able handle this year’s potential high water. “The city is in excellent shape since we did the flood control project,” said City Engineer Bill Monk.
However, at 6.4 feet above flood stage, the water is well on its way to reaching the Athletic Park grandstand.
We’re still new to downtown, so we’ve never experienced the Minnesota River at flood stage. We heard when the bridge is closed that downtown gets eerily quiet.
We have what you call a “wet basement,” with no sump pump, so I’ve built shelves in my basement to ensure things aren’t on the floor. Hopefully that will be enough.
I don’t really want to go fishing off my front porch.