WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 01, 2011, 08:57 AM

35-year flood fight with the Buffalo River continues for Sabin homeowner

Sabin, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Local officials and the National Weather Service are identifying rivers that may be trouble spots this spring. The area around Sabin, Minnesota has a high potential of flooding from the Buffalo River and overland. Storm Tracker Meterologist Rob Kupec has more tonight on how high the water might get, and one man's 35-year fight with the Buffalo River.

One of the major factors in the spring flood will be the amount of water coming in from tributaries in Minnesota which are running very high. Here at the Buffalo River in Sabin there is a 20% chance that river could hit a record crest and county officials are also concerned about overland flooding in this area.

Anthony Karppinen has been fighting flood on the Buffalo River since its record flood of nearly 20 feet back in 1975. Since the wet cycle started back in 1993 Karppinen says it just seems to continue to get worse.

β€œIt used to be that an inch of rain would bring the river up about a foot, now an inch or rain brings it up two or three feet. It used to take 3 to 5 days to get from Barnesville not it takes one or two.”

With the thought of another flood fight and a 20% chance of seeing a record setting flood, you would think Karppinen might be just a little pessimistic.

β€œ20%, I can live with that. I'm the eternal optimist. We're not going to have any more snow this winter and we're going to have an ideal melt.”

We're all hopping Karppinen's prediction is right. Last year, the Buffalo River at Sabin crested at about 17 and a half feet. In 2009, it crested just over 19 feet. That's about 11 inches short of a record.