U.S. Highway 52 reopens near Pine Island; major flooding reported downstream

Flood waters of the Middle Fork Zumbro River in Pine Island, Minn.
Flood waters of the Middle Fork Zumbro River spill across Eighth Street SE in Pine Island, Minn., on Friday.
Courtesy of City of Pine Island

Updated: 7:40 p.m. | Posted: 7:30 a.m.

U.S. Highway 52 near Pine Island, northwest of Rochester, reopened Saturday morning after being closed by flood waters for much of the previous day.

Meanwhile downstream, water levels rose to major flood stage along the Zumbro River in the wake of storms Friday that dropped more than a half-foot of rain in some locations.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported just after 7 a.m. Saturday that Highway 52 was reopened to traffic, after the Middle Fork of the Zumbro River receded and crews were able to clear the four-lane highway.

But as Highway 52 reopened, another major highway closed. MnDOT reported Saturday morning that U.S. Highway 63 was closed at Zumbro Falls because of flooding along the Zumbro River. The highway reopened later in the day.

The National Weather Service reported the river crested at a level of 27.03 feet on Saturday morning at Zumbro Falls — about a foot above major flood stage. That was up from a river stage of just under 8 feet on Friday morning.

The river had dropped to minor flood stage as of Saturday evening.

Saturday's crest was the highest recorded in Zumbro Falls since devastating flooding in 2010 — though it was far below the 2010 level, when the river crested at more than 35 feet.

The flooding once again swamped many farm fields across the region, after a wet spring delayed the planting season.

And several dozen cattle were swept away by Zumbro River flood waters near Byron on Friday.

Farmer Bob Eustice said Saturday morning that 30 of the cattle had been recovered alive; the other 20 or so remained missing.

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