“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Rochester in Olmsted County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Flooding in Rochester

— Stormwater Trail —

Flooding in Rochester Marker image. Click for full size.
July 28, 2021
1. Flooding in Rochester Marker
Inscription.  Rochester was built on a floodplain created by the South Fork of the Zumbro River and its tributaries. The first recorded flood in Rochester was in 1855 and historic floods occurred in 1866, 1882, and 1908. Rochester's worst flood happened in 1978. After 6.7 inches of rain, the Zumbro River reached 23 feet above flood stage, 5 people lost their lives, and over $60 million in damages were sustained.

Center photos' captions (left to right):
1978 Flood: Looking north at the Apache Mall. The South Fork of the Zumbro River is in the foreground.

1978 Flood: Looking west at the confluence of Bear Creek and the South Fork of the Zumbro River.

1978 Flood: Looking west at the Water Reclamation Plant and the South Fork of the Zumbro River.

Rochester's Flood Control Project, which was completed in 1995, uses a multi-faceted approach that combines water storage in reservoirs upstream, stream bank stabilization, construction of a wider and deeper channel, and levees. This has reduced flood risk in Rochester to 0.52% in any given year and has reduced the impacts of flooding downstream.

Flooding in Rochester Marker by Silver Lake image. Click for full size.
July 28, 2021
2. Flooding in Rochester Marker by Silver Lake
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2010: Flooding of Cascade Creek and the Zumbro River. The flood stage crested at 17.1 feet after 6.22 inches of rain.

Rainfall amounts during the storm event can differ across the City. This variability in precipitation can cause some rivers to flood while others stay within their banks. For example, the 2007 storms brought over 10 inches of rain to both Cascade and Silver Creeks, while the airport south of town received just over 6 inches of rain.

Photo caption:
2007: Flooding of Cascade Creek in Kutzky Park. The flood stage crested at 16.7 feet after 7 inches of rain.

At Home and Work
Select upland sites for development projects. Maintain wetlands and their adjacent buffer strips on your property as open spaces.

Learn more at
Erected by StormWater Management, City of Rochester Minnesota.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: DisastersEnvironmentWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1855.
Location. 44° 1.872′ N, 92° 27.468′ W. Marker is in Rochester, Minnesota, in Olmsted County. Marker can be reached from West Silver Lake Drive Northeast east of North Broadway Avenue (U.S. 63).
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Located within Silver Lake Park, on the west side of the pedestrian bridge. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 770 W Silver Lake Dr NE, Rochester MN 55906, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Geology of Minnesota (approx. 0.2 miles away); History of Silver Lake (approx. 0.2 miles away); Last Alarm (approx. Ό mile away); The Avalon Building (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Rochester Armory Building (approx. half a mile away); The Heritage House (approx. half a mile away); Central Park Plaza (approx. half a mile away); The Chateau Theatre (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rochester.
Additional keywords. Floods
Credits. This page was last revised on August 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 3, 2021. This page has been viewed 270 times since then and 83 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 3, 2021. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 29, 2023