Rice County's rising river levels are normal in spring when snow melts and are no cause for concern unless a significant amount of rain falls. Local rivers are being monitored for potential flooding by Rice County emergency management and city emergency management officials.
From March 24 to 4:15 p.m. on March 31, the Cannon River at Highway 29 rose from just under 12 feet to 15.73 feet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Straight River near Faribault rose from about 6.25 feet to 7.41 feet, according to the USGS. Near Faribault, the Straight River's left bank will flood at 11.8 feet and the right bank will flood at 9.9 feet, according to the National Weather Service. It crested at 14.88 feet on Sept. 24, 2010, according to the NWS.
"It’s probably the highest it’s been since last summer, which is consistent with the warm weather and melting snow we’ve had," said Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn. "As of right now, as long as we don’t get a significant amount of rain, we’re sitting good."
Last year's dry conditions coupled with a slow start to spring and alternating cold and warm days are also keeping the flood risk at bay.
Because of dry conditions last year, the soil, wetlands and lakes will accept more water, said Faribault Fire Chief Dustin Dienst. Intermittent warm days have so far spread out the melting of local snow, allowing rivers to accept it gradually.
However, to prevent unexpected issues if an emergency were to occur, Dienst encourages everyone to sign up for emergency notification alerts through Everbridge on the Rice County website (http://www.co.rice.mn.us/how-do-i-get-enrolled-citizen-alert) or at https://ww2.everbridge.net/citizen/EverbridgeGateway.action?body=home&gis_alias_id=1460781. You can also call or visit your local fire department or the 911 Center for information on how to sign up. Notifications can be sent via text, voice mail, email and/or home phone and you can prioritize your notifications.
"When there are disasters or emergencies, we want everybody to be signed up for Everbridge so they’re aware and can stay abreast of the situation," Dienst said. "We do have the ability to notify people whether they’re signed up or not, but you’ll get it at your home phone -- if you don't sign up that doesn't help you if you're not home."