Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Water, Water, Everywhere

Not a newscast goes by without flood stories. The impression left is of widespread disaster. Don't believe everything you see on TV. News reporters are drawn to these sites for a big story and it becomes a big story whether it is or not.
Our hometown borders the St. Croix river and it floods to some extent every spring. Some years are worse than others. Water comes over the levy and floods the park. Spring melt swells the river until it almost touches the old liftbridge. they close the bridge inconveniencing commuters who need to find another river crossing. They did that today. Then they finished the earthen/sandbag emergency levy to keep downtown dry. In 1965 downtown flooded. Since then they have improved the permanent levy and built temporary dikes when too much water was expected.
News of flooding draws a crowd. Downtown businesses are booming. Last weekend it was crowded and today lots of gawkers. We were among them. It all looked like a normal spring to me. It is an unusual year we don't take on a little water in the park.
Part of our flood watch today included a trip to Mounds Park to see how downtown St. Paul was doing. Mounds Park is on a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi across from the downtown and Holman Field airport. The water level didn't look too bad even if local news continually talks about their flood. A small group of oldsters gathered around us. Like us they have long memories of the real floods of 1965 & '69 when it flooded extensively. One older gent said it was nothing like "52. Jon and I couldn't comment. We don't remember the 1952 flooding. Thank God for that. I was in first grade in '52 and living in central Minnesota.

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