Floodwaters started to recede Sunday in much of Minnesota, but St. Paul remained among the cities watching the water continue to rise on its riverfront.
With rain not anticipated by forecasters in the next few days, flood conditions were expected to stabilize or recede across most of the state.
"Looks like everything is near crest, at crest, or already on its way down at a gradual pace," said meteorologist Ryan Dunleavy of the National Weather Service.
The weather service was tracking a system that could bring rain at the end of the week, but Dunleavy said it's too far in the future to predict the potential impact on flooding.
Water levels in St. Paul reached 17.8 feet as of Sunday afternoon and were projected to go as high as 18.8 feet in the coming days. If the water gets to 19.2 feet, the flood would crack St. Paul's Top 10, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said during a news conference with city leaders at flooded Harriet Island Regional Park.
Without St. Paul's levees the flooding situation would be much worse, she said.
"It looks like we're going to make it through this flood, but we've still got to follow the rules and just hope we don't have some gigantic rainstorm in the next few weeks," Klobuchar said.
The city installed an additional "big bag" levee along the Mississippi in Lowertown, Public Works Director Sean Kershaw said. "We're ready for that extra foot," he said.
Floodwaters were beginning to recede west of the Twin Cities on the Crow and Minnesota rivers, with crests reported at cities such as Montevideo, Granite Falls, Mayer, Delano and Rockford, according to the weather service.
The Mississippi River crested at Fridley, but was expected to keep rising in Hastings and Red Wing as well as St. Paul, as floodwaters push south on the river.
St. Croix still rising
Stillwater was waiting Sunday for the St. Croix River to crest. The National Weather Service measured the river at just above major flood stage, with the water projected to rise another 6 inches by Tuesday evening.
Downtown Stillwater was bustling Sunday afternoon, and many people hoped to get a look at the flooded St. Croix. A wide berm kept them far back from the river, but spectators could see water nearing the underside of the Stillwater Lift Bridge.
"There's a lot of water!" said John Schmidt, 6, visiting with his parents and siblings from St. Anthony.
Paul and Nene Vang of Blaine took their three children to see the St. Croix, where they often go boating in the summer.
"We love to come out here and stroll," Paul Vang said. "We were hoping to see the walkway, but ..."
Nene Vang finished his thought: "We didn't expect to see it like this!"
River blocking refuge trails
Bikers and walkers went to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington Sunday expecting to enjoy the main trail and instead wound up posing for photos in front of the impassable Minnesota River.
Jeff Ringsred of Bloomington often strolls through the refuge, which he said floods to some degree about every other year. Water from the river spreads through the trees, turning the refuge into a floodplain. In recent years he's seen it go higher.
"I know it's still rising at a pretty good rate," Ringsred said. "It will be interesting to see. I'll come down for sure in the next couple of days."
Dean Waldemarsen of St. Louis Park had heard about "flood tourism," where people travel to cities along the rivers to see the rising water. He said he was hoping to avoid those crowds by going to a preserve that's typically pretty quiet.
"There are cool places you can see the river, and we all love the river, so why not?" he said.
Red crests in Fargo
The Red River of the North so far this spring has seen only moderate flooding, helped by a dry fall and a slow thaw that eased the threat posed by the especially snowy winter.
Fire Chief Jeff Boushee, the emergency manager in East Grand Forks, Minn., said there had been little impact in his city on the Red's east bank. Only two streets have been closed, at a railroad overpass and on the west side of levees installed after the record 1997 flood.
"We're currently less than a foot over the moderate flood stage," Boushee said. "We're going to hold that line at the 41-foot mark at least until Sunday."
Surrounding townships have reported minimal flood damage, he said.
After the water recedes, Boushee said, riverfront bike trails will need to be cleared of debris. But he said he didn't expect any lasting damage from this year's floods.
The Red crested at the moderate flood stage in Fargo-Moorhead, according to Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting.
"The Red River going through the Fargo-Moorhead area has crested and appears to be receding," Empting said. "We're not experiencing anything too terrible now."