Western Minnesota is experiencing higher than usual flood levels this spring. Most of the flooding stems from rising water levels in the upper Minnesota River created by melting snow and ice, in addi’tion to thawing ground. Another problem is the increase of ice flowing into the river, creating periodic flood surges.

State officials have also highlighted the role of agricultural tiles in helping keep water above the underground aquifers, a factor that only adds to overall flood levels. According to the National Weather Service, Granite Falls should expect a “minor flood” by Thursday, though the report also predicted continued flooding through the weekend. By Sunday, experts are warning that the river could reach 892 feet, still below the 2011 and 2010 levels.

The big concern right now is ease of transportation. Portions of more than two dozen roads in Yellow Medicine have already been closed, according to local officials. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is recommending motorists not to attempt driving through inundated portions of the road when possible.

Although the flooding near Granite Falls remains mild thus far, the city says that they will continue with ongoing flood preparations. Sandbags are available at the Yellow Medicine County garage on west Highway 212 for residents who require them. On a positive note, the weather forecast does not predict rainfall in the near future, helping ease the strain being put on overloaded waterways.

Residents can stay up to date on current river levels at https://www.weather.gov/mpx/AreaRivers.