Basements, rivers show first signs of spring flooding

The running and puddling water will get a lot worse, and cause a lot more problems, before the rain finally quits.

The National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis., has issued a flood watch for all of southeastern Minnesota, western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa through Thursday night.

The mounds of snow have begun to melt under an onslaught of rain and temperatures in the 40s, bringing water to rivers, streams and basements across the region.


“The last two weeks have been pretty busy,” said Maddie Rudesill, marketing manager at American Waterworks in Pine Island. The company, which specializes in basement waterproofing, received calls from proactive individuals before the snow melted and the rains began. Now, they are getting calls from homeowners who have water leaking into their basements.

Rudesill said the best advice the company can give right now is for people to remove the snow and moisture from around the foundation of their homes, make sure downspouts are clear and extended, check to make sure sump pumps are working and the discharge line is not clogged or frozen.

“The best thing is to divert water as far away from the foundation as possible,” she said. That includes shoveling snow away from egress windows in basements.

While the company can fix a basement for the long term, it’s not a cleanup service, she said.

Still, there are plenty of flood waters to come.

Tuesday, rain fell across the region with nearly an inch or more falling in north Rochester, central and western Wabasha County, northern Winona County and the Austin area.

The wet conditions led several schools and businesses to alter their plans. In Rochester and several other districts in the area, school buses were staying off unpaved roads due to the wet weather.

More rain is expected all through today and Thursday, with as much as another half-inch expected until the rain turns to snow Thursday night, the NWS reports.

The rain and melting snow will put several rivers near or into flood stages Friday and through the weekend.

In Austin, Turtle Creek and the Cedar River are expected to reach the action stages Thursday and peak just below minor flood stage Friday. The South Branch Root River in Lanesboro should see similar near-flood conditions Thursday and Friday, the NWS reports.


In Houston, the Root River is expected to hit minor flood stage Thursday morning and peak just below the moderate flood stage early Friday.

The worst spot along the Mississippi River will be at Wabasha, where the waters are expected to crest just below the minor flood stage on Tuesday, the NWS predicts. And the Zumbro River will crest below the minor flood stage at Lake Zumbro and Zumbro Falls this weekend.

That said, the NWS notes the significant rises on streams and rivers could bring flooding in spots along the tributaries of the Mississippi River south of Interstate 90. Ice jams along rivers and ponding of water in urban areas are likely.

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