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Flooding
Spring flood outlooks for central Minnesota

March 13: what is happening?
While snow pack in the Elk River area is very low to gone, high stream flows and soil moisture have the flood threat totally dependent upon bouts of heavy spring rainfall.

Thin IceRemember: Stay off the ice!
Waters may still be flowing underneath and ice may be thinner than expected. Expect saturated ground near the river. Notify the city if you notice significant changes to the water level, and take pictures and video to record the flooding. Remember that Lake Orono is also a river.

Sandbagging
Sandbags are available to residents if they are affected by flooding. For information on the cost, pick up location, and instructions, see the Emergency Operations Center Sandbag Information page. For information on where to order sand locally, see the Sandbag Distributors list.  

Who to contact if flooding occurs
If this is a life safety emergency requiring police or fire response, or if you need assistance with evacuation or rescue, 
dial 9-1-1.

Non-Emergency
For general inquiries, questions about flooding safety, or to report concerns to public infrastructure such as roads, liftstations, transformers, etc., contact the Public Hotline at the city's Emergency Operations Center at 763.635.1449 or email .  

Frequently Asked Questions
 1) What is an "ice jam?"
An ice jam develops in cold temperatures near river bends, mouths of tributaries, points where the river slope decreases, downstream of dams and upstream of bridges or obstructions. The water that is held back may cause flooding or flash flooding upstream.
 2) Where are the areas of concern for ice jams?  
Elk River: where the Elk River enters Lake Orono. This is causing the river to “back up,” increase in elevation, and waters are pushing out the side of the river, into the floodplain. Properties located along Yankton St. NW, Waco St. NW,  189th Ave. NW and surrounding areas should be monitored. 
Mississippi River: where US Highway 101 crosses the Mississippi River in Otsego/Elk River. 
At this time, it appears properties west of Highway 101 along the Mississippi, including the backwaters around the William H. Houlton Conservation Area, and properties on Yankton St., Waco St., 189th Ave., and Wapiti Park, are affected. If your property is located in a floodplain in this area, you should be monitoring yours and neighboring properties. 
Floodplain Elk River3) Is my property located in a floodplain?
Visit FEMA.gov - click on Navigation and Flood Hazard Mapping for information regarding your property being located in a floodplain. Or call the city's Environmental Division at 763.635.1000.
4) How can I get flood insurance?
If you do not have flood insurance at this time, you may want to consider looking into purchasing it for the spring season. Please note there is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance takes effect. You may not apply for flood insurance to cover this flood event. Visit www.floodsmart.gov.
5) Can the city blow up the ice jams?
Although this may be a strategy in some areas, it is not feasible in Elk River due to the number of homes and structures in the area. In addition, if an ice jam was broken apart in these temperatures, it will likely reform quickly and risk causing a larger jam than we currently have. The broken pieces of ice may also pose a threat to structures in and around flooded areas.
6) How can I protect my home?
The City of Elk River can assist you in finding local contractors sand. 50 bags are available at City Hall at no cost and an additional 50 can be purchased for $15. See the city website for more information on sandbagging. For additional  information on how to protect your home and structures with floodproofing, visit FEMA.gov.
7) Do I need to be worried about my septic tank?
If you have a septic tank located in a flooded or flood-prone area, review the steps needed at the MN Pollution Control Agency website. If you are unable to use your septic tank, notify Health and Human Services at Sherburne County.