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Published February 17, 2011, 05:10 PM

Risk Rises for Major Minnesota Flooding

Don't be fooled: Minnesota officials said Thursday the recent warm weather and melting snow hasn't reduced the high threat of serious spring flooding at all.

By: Steve Karnowski, Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Don't be fooled: Minnesota officials said Thursday the recent warm weather and melting snow hasn't reduced the high threat of serious spring flooding at all.

"No river is considered immune this year from flooding," Dan Luna, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, told reporters. He said the main significance of updated projections released Thursday is that forecasters are even more certain of their original prediction last month of an unusually high flood risk statewide

The new forecasts raised the odds for major flooding at some communities on the Minnesota, Mississippi and St. Croix rivers in Minnesota. On the upper Minnesota River, the risk at Montevideo has risen to 90 percent, up from between 60 and 70 percent earlier. On the Mississippi, the threat at St. Paul is now 95 to 98 percent, up from 90 percent. And on the St. Croix, the risk at Stillwater is now 75 percent, up from 60 to 70 percent.

State emergency management director Kris Eide said two-thirds of Minnesotans may be affected to at least a small degree, such as by leaking roofs and basements. She urged Minnesotans to prepare now to protect their families, homes and communities, and stressed that people should consider buying flood insurance.

Luna said this melting "hasn't changed anything." He said snow piles look smaller but little water has reached creeks and rivers yet, and cold weather coming Friday will freeze that water in place. He said he didn't expect major developments for at least two or three weeks. But he said the chance that the danger will subside is remote — and it could rise.

"The threat is real. We've got a long ways to go yet," Luna said.

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