Floodwaters are receding in parts of Minnesota, but the threat of bad weather and runoff remains in many places.
Reporter Tim Nelson spoke with MPR News All Things Considered host Tom Crann.
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• Road closures: The latest from MnDOT
Tom Crann: What's the latest?
Tim Nelson: The fallout from heavy rains is making things difficult for parts of Minnesota. Gov. Mark Dayton was up in Warroad today. The city has lined its lakeshore with concrete barriers and fill to build a temporary dike to hold back Lake of the Woods. Roseau County board chair Glenda Phillips told me today that they fear it could come up another three to five inches in the next week, and that it could be worse — if they get a strong northeast wind, the lake is big enough that they get what's called a wind setup effect, and that could push even more water toward Warroad.
They're also fighting the flooding in Middle River, about 60 miles southwest of Warroad. There they got as much as 6 inches of rain in one big dump yesterday. So Marshall County had highway trucks and even offenders from the Sentence to Service program filling sandbags and stacking them up around about a dozen homes there yesterday — the water crested there about 2 a.m.
The Crow River is receding now in Delano and the Minnesota is receding in Henderson and Jordan, and MnDOT says they may reopen U.S. 169 between St. Peter and LeSueur tomorrow or Friday. That said, three of the big rides and most of the main parking lot at Valley Fair have been shut down because of high water now, And there still may be another 7 inches of water coming along the riverfront in downtown St. Paul with a crest tomorrow.
Crann: And what's the risk of more precipitation? What does the rain forecast look like?
Nelson: The National Weather Service says the threat of thunderstorms is coming back tomorrow across Minnesota — and they're saying that from the very northwestern corner all the way down through St. Cloud, the Twin Cities and to the Iowa border.
And their map basically has a big bulls-eye right over the Twin Cities through Monday. That means thunderstorms are likely from time to time this weekend — including some severe storms. And again they've got those dreaded words in the forecast — possibly heavy rainfall. They're talking between 1 to 3 inches over the next five days — maybe approaching four here in the Metro, according to one model.
Crann: And what will that mean?
Nelson: Well, this is spread out over a number of days, and it isn't likely to be that giant, five or six inches of rain like we saw last week. I talked to Craig Schmidt, service hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
Here's what he had to say:
"All told, we end up with one to two, two and a half inches of rain in any one spot. And the effect on the rivers would be pretty minimal, maybe slowing down their recession. It would be just slowing down their recession. Maybe they would bump up another foot again on their way down. But nothing that gets us up to where we've been over the last week."
Crann: But the ground is already pretty wet, so should people expect wet basements again?
Nelson: That's right. There could be local flooding, and even some dangerous erosion.