Skip to main content

Potential High Water

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District continues to monitor high water conditions across the watershed. The recent rainfall and snowmelt have caused localized street and basement flooding, and Minnehaha Creek flowed out of its banks in some communities. With relatively dry weather in the forecast, the water levels are receding, but residents are encouraged to keep eye on the weather forecast.

The MCWD is coordinating with the cities of Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Edina and Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to monitor for ice jams on Minnehaha Creek and to remove them as needed.

The Gray’s Bay Dam has remained closed throughout this period. Once the risk of ice jams on the creek has subsided, the MCWD will safely release water from Lake Minnetonka to provide additional storage for the next snowmelt or rain event which will protect the entire system from flooding.

As the expert on how water flows across our watershed, we are actively working with our partners to understand the potential impacts, provide accurate information to residents and our communities, and effectively manage the flow of water out of the Gray’s Bay Dam.

Gathering facts and understanding impacts

To ensure our response is based on accurate information and sound science, we are collecting data and closely monitoring weather projections. MCWD staff is working across the watershed to determine the amount of snow and ice that is on the landscape. We are also gathering data from the National Weather Service, Hennepin County Emergency Management, and the U.S. Geological Survey as part of a multi-agency coordinated effort. And we are running hydrologic snowmelt modeling scenarios to identify the locations that face potential flood risk.

As of March 12, 2019 those model results show high water elevations below FEMA’s 100-year flood zone for Minnehaha Creek. View a map showing 100-year and 500-year flood zones. If future model results predict high water beyond FEMA’s 100-year flood zone, we will display those results on flood projection maps that will be posted on our website.

Providing information

To help inform communities’ decision making and response, we are keeping the cities along Minnehaha Creek and Lake Minnetonka updated on the latest information we have and the potential impact on water levels. In addition to this regular communication with our communities, we will be providing updates on potential flooding and links to resources to residents by email and via the MCWD’s website. Sign up for email updates.

Managing Gray’s Bay Dam

As prescribed in the DNR approved dam operating plan, Lake Minnetonka was drawn down to 928.60 feet last fall to create storage for spring snowmelt, which allows the lake to be used as a storage basin. Lake Minnetonka’s current water elevation is estimated to be 929.05 feet.

We are taking steps to ensure the Gray’s Bay Dam is able to safely release water ahead of a large snowmelt or rain event. We obtained a permit from the DNR to install aerators on the lake side of the dam to break up the ice so the gates can be raised, if needed. Although the aerators have been installed, the gates will remain closed until the risk of ice jams along the creek has subsided.

By releasing water ahead of a large snowmelt or rain event, when it can be easily controlled, we can prevent flooding on Minnehaha Creek and Lake Minnetonka. This is similar to the approach we took last spring when we opened the dam ahead of two record-setting snowfalls in April. By lowering Lake Minnetonka’s water level ahead of those snow events, we avoided flooding on Minnehaha Creek and the lake in 2018.

Tips for Property Owners

Get the latest information by visiting our website and signing up for email updates.

Review your insurance coverage. There is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect. Learn more about flood insurance. Check to see if your policy covers sanitary sewer back-ups. More information is available from the Insurance Information Institute. Other resources include:

For specific questions about local flood response, including where to find sand bags and other resources, contact your city.

Minnehaha Creek

  • Edina – Dave Goergen, Public Works Coordinator, 952-826-0312
  • Hopkins - Hopkins Public Works, 952-939-1382
  • Minneapolis - 311 or 612-673-3000
  • Minnetonka – Minnetonka Public Works, 952-988-8400 between 7am-3:30pm
  • St. Louis Park – Steve Koering, Fire Chief, 612-790-4019

Lake Minnetonka

  • Deephaven – Dana Young, City Administrator, 952-358-9936
  • Excelsior - Tim Amundsen, Public Works Superintendent, 952-653-3676
  • Greenwood - Dana Young, City Clerk, 952-358-9936
  • Orono – 952-249-4600, after hours call Dispatch at 952-258-5321
  • Wayzata – Mike Kelly, City Engineer/Director of Public Works, 952-404-5316