One thing on many Crookston residents' minds as the spring nears is the possibility of flood waters invading the comfort of their lives. Each spring they need to prepare for flooding, sandbagging missions, and waterproofing.
Tim Froeber, Crookston’s Fire Chief and Emergency Manager, is in charge of the city’s flood preparations for the spring season. Despite the flurry of recent snowfall, the snowpack that will soon melt into the surrounding bodies of water isn't enough to alarm Froeber just yet.
The Red Lake River is the main body of water that affects Crookston come springtime. The low lying areas surrounding the river mean the water has to rise up to 30 feet to become a menace. Crookston officials are predicting less than a 5 percent chance the water level will even reach 24 feet. No emergency plans are in the future because of this winter drought. Less snowpack means less runoff when it all melts.
But there is one potential problem with those predictions. The Red Lake River water level could be determined on the how the frozen ice thaws. The river winds through Crookston meaning the ice chunks could get caught in the twists and turns resulting in an ice jam causing the river to rise. Sometimes this situation causes the river to rise rapidly. Crookston isn't in the free and clear of flood threats until summer hits.
Crookston is always anticipating the effects of the melting snow and ice, but this season they do not predict a confrontation with the Red Lake River, a welcome break for the town’s residents.