Delano braces for Crow River's crest

DELANO, Minn. – The city of Delano is bracing itself as the Crow River nears its highest level in 50 years.

The city's emergency management team expects the river could crest Monday evening, according to data from the National Weather Service. More worrisome, that crest could last several days.

"We are doing well, we are holding our own against the water. Our question is saturation point," said Dale Graunke, Mayor of Delano.

The water has already surpassed the base of the bridge and debris is a concern as they try to prevent water flowing from over the top of the dike, officials said. With the river at the highest level since 1965, Graunke said what's problematic is the type of flooding at this time of year.

"Now we have saturated ground that isn't frozen and that makes a difference with seepage, dikes in some areas seeping through, we have pumps set up and are dealing with that," said Wright County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Berg.

Next to the Crow River, the Three Crows Café & Coffee House evacuated as a precaution when owner Gina Coburn could not pump water fast enough from her building's basement. Coburn and her husband had been pumping water 24 hours a day when customers helped come to the rescue, packing up her shop in a hurry.

"They showed up, all these trailers and people showed up all of the sudden. We had two hours to evacuate this and we got done in an hour and a half. It's like amazing," said Gina Coburn who owns Three Crows Café and Coffeehouse.

Coburn had not met some of the customers who showed up and offered their manpower, kindness and time.

"We know when the river rises, the Three Crows is in jeopardy. We have come here many times during the week for a cup of coffee and a sandwich, and they needed help moving things out so that is why we came down to help," said customer Sarah Stone, who spent the day packing up for Coburn. "It means a lot just to be able to lighten her load."

Coburn said she may decide to open her business in another location after the city offered to buy her building due to the flood threat.

"It's uncharted territory. People have been so supportive through thick and thin," said Coburn.

Another concern for those along the Crow River is possibility of more rain. The city isn't evacuating, but it is telling residents to plug their sanitary sewer drains in their basements so the water runs back into the sewer.

The concern will last throughout the week as the river isn't expected to go down until Wednesday or later.


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