Not so fast! Quick warmup could cause flooding on city streets


Temperatures are warming up and the snow will finally start to melt as temperatures this week reach the 30s and 40s every day.

With that comes the potential for street flooding.

Many of the 50,000 storm drains in Minneapolis are buried under several inches of snow and ice. When the snow starts to melt, the runoff will have no where to go and it will back up in intersections and alleyways, which could cause problematic driving and property damage, according to WCCO.

Mike Kennedy, director of transportation and maintenance repair for Minneapolis Public Works, told WCCO localized flooding is possible if the melt happens too fast. Crews have been trying to stay ahead of the spring melt by clearing snow and ice away from corners and curbs, but some will go untouched.

“One of the big problems we have are in our alleys, too,” Kennedy told WCCO. “And we want to keep any flooding from going up into garages and things like that.”

Intersections and alleys can overflow within minutes if there is a rapid snow melt, which much of Minnesota could see this week.

The National Weather Service predicts a high of 49 degrees in Minneapolis Sunday, a high of close to 50 degrees Monday. Pacific Air pushes into the region late this week, which will produce highs in the lower 40s both Thursday and Friday, according to KARE 11.

MPR News' Updraft blog reports there will be a sustained thaw this week – the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model is predicting four days in the 40s. Most models show there is a solid trend of a more sustained warm up, MPR reports.

The crews who are clearing out storm drains will be busy this spring – they are also responsible for patching the potholes plaguing nearly every city street.

As for other spring flooding: A new spring flood report, which was released last week, indicates the potential for substantial flooding on the Red River remains moderate.

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