Last year, the Sauerkraut Days Committee was battling Mother Nature as the Minnesota Department of Transportation was forced to close the roads into the town of Henderson throughout the weekend as flooding caused road closures.
This year, roads remained open for the three-day sauerkraut festival, but the fifth closure of Highway 93 in a little more than three months was close on its heels. Shortly after noon on Monday, July 1, MnDOT once again closed Highway 93 due to flooding on the Rush River.
To live in Henderson is to get used to the occasional – or even expected – road closure, but with summer just vamping up, residents have already had their fill of flooding.
Henderson experienced almost two months of road closures due to flooding, as roads closed for the first time on Tuesday, March 19. County Road 6 was closed for 34 days this year, and it was even longer for Highways 19 and 93.
It is a costly reality for residents and businesses. According to the “Henderson Flood Feasibility Study” MnDOT completed in 2017, during a flood event in which all three roads are closed, the cost to residents in time and miles traveled is $87,000 per day.
That means that in the first part of 2019 alone, flooding and road closures cost residents $2,958,000.
And that amount may well increase.
As of Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service reported the river level at 727.73 feet, and flood stage is 732 feet.
However, the Minnesota River will have plenty of chances to rise above flood level this week, as the National Weather Service gives the Henderson area a 20-50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and this coming Monday.
With that rain in the forecast, the National Weather Service is projecting that the Minnesota River will once again surpass flood stage at approximately 1 p.m. this Saturday, July 6, and crest at 732.7 feet.