Slow-moving storms cause flash flooding in parts of Minnesota

Updated: 10:30 a.m.

Scattered slow-moving thunderstorms continued to drop torrential rain on parts of Minnesota early Thursday, following flash flooding in some communities on Wednesday night.

The city of Cambridge, north of the Twin Cities, was particularly hard-hit, as storms dropped 4 to 5 inches of rain in just a couple hours on Wednesday evening. That flooded streets and stranded some vehicles in the Isanti County community.

City officials asked residents to stay off the streets in the immediate wake of the storm, as crews were dealing with downed power lines in addition to flooded streets.

Late Wednesday night, officials said floodwaters had receded and that it was safe to travel on all city streets. They said damage assessments would continue Thursday morning.

There were no reports of injuries.

The Cambridge Public Library was among the buildings affected by the flooding. Library officials initially said the building — which had opened just a couple years ago — would be closed Thursday and Friday. But in an update late Thursday morning, officials said they would be able to reopen the facility for normal hours on Friday.

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KARE 11 reported that some property owners were dealing with flooded basements.

Torrential rain also was reported Wednesday afternoon and evening in Carlton and Pine counties, in parts of the Boundary Waters and in the eastern Twin Cities metro area.

Another round of flash flood warnings were in effect early Thursday in northern Minnesota, including parts of Cass, Itasca and Aitkin counties.

The National Weather Service said radar estimated 3 to 7 inches of rain fell overnight in the Hill City and Remer areas.

Wednesday’s storms were isolated — but where they did develop, they moved very, very slowly.

“There was nothing to move them along; winds aloft were under 15 mph, so that's why the rain just kept adding up,” MPR meteorologist Sven Sundgaard said. “But then at the same time 10 miles away, you wouldn't get a drop at all.”

More rounds of storms moving across central and northwest Minnesota on Thursday morning were not quite as intense as Wednesday's storms, and were moving at least slightly faster. But there’s still a potential for more heavy rain across the region on Thursday.

Find forecast updates on MPR Weather’s Updraft blog.