Parts of the Elk River in central Minnesota have been flooding because of an ice jam recently. The flood warning was supposed to end on Christmas Day – but instead it's been extended. Again.
The National Weather Service says southeastern Sherburne County along the river is still seeing flooding. The warning will now last until 3:30 p.m. Saturday, which is nearly two weeks after it started.
Several residential homes in the area are continuing to deal with water in their basements. And the water level on the river will stay where it is – or go up – until the ice jam breaks apart and loosens things.
Officials warn people to stay away from flooded areas. Whatever you do, don’t drive into the water because it’s hard to tell how deep it is or what’s even in there. The NWS says 176 people in the U.S. were killed in floods last year. And most flood-related deaths happen in vehicles.
People often underestimate the force and power of water, according to the NWS. It only takes a few inches of fast-moving water to knock over an adult. A foot of water can carry away a small car, and 2 feet can carry away most vehicles.
Our original story from Dec. 23 can be found below.
You might remember earlier this week we told you the Mississippi River was flooding in Minnesota ... in late December.
Well there is still flooding because of an ice jam, and there might be for a couple more days.
The National Weather Service says a flood warning for southeastern Sherburne County, along the Elk River, is in effect until 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
That cause is an ice jam, also called an ice dam. It happens when pieces of ice build up on a body of water that has a current; the moving water is then held back and can cause flooding.
And possible rain this weekend could make the river rise further. Or maybe help ease the flooding.
The National Weather Service explains: "Some open water has appeared but levels remain very high. The river will continue to remain steady or slowly rise until the ice jam releases. Upcoming rainfall may cause more rises in the river, while also contributing to the potential to break up the ice jam."
More flooding at Minnehaha Creek?
There might be more flooding for some Minnesota residents.
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District says here might be some localized flooding in low-lying areas along the creek this weekend because of possible rainfall, and melting snow.
And then after that, a quick return to cold temperatures might mean a sudden freeze. And some ice jams, which could encourage more flooding.
The Mississippi River near Fort Ripley is also at risk of flooding because of an ice jam, though the Weather Service said Friday the river looks frozen from bank to bank, so nothing's been reported yet.
This seems weird. Is this weird?
Ice jams causing flooding in the middle of a Minnesota winter isn't unheard of. But it's not a yearly thing either.
"Flooding doesn't happen too often in December and we usually don't see flood warnings or river flood warnings this time of year," meteorologist Mace Michaels with Severe Studios and the GoMN Radio Network said.
But the warmer fall, combined with the plunge into Arctic temps in the past couple weeks, means water in rivers only partially froze. And that makes ice jams – and then flooding – possible.
Ice jams are generally more common in the spring, he said, when ice and snow starts to melt and the water flows downstream.