Strong storms knock out power to thousands across Minnesota; rivers on the rise

A country road with water around it indicating a possible flood risk-4
County Highway 123 in Mayor was closed Monday due to flood risk.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Strong thunderstorms knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses across central and southern Minnesota early Monday — and added to concerns about river flooding in the days ahead.

As of 1 p.m. Monday, Xcel Energy was reporting outages affecting nearly 2,000 of its Minnesota customers. That number was down from nearly 13,000 earlier in the day.

Rochester Public Utilities was also reporting nearly 2,000 customers without power as of early afternoon, after the storms downed trees and power lines in the city.

BENCO Electric Cooperative, East Central Energy, Federated Rural Electric, Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative and Steele Waseca Cooperative Electric each reported several hundred of their customers without power early Monday, but most of those outages had been repaired as of midday.

A country road with water around it indicating a possible flood risk-6
South Fork Crow River overflowed onto parkland Monday in Watertown due to heavy rain.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Those outages were prompted by a line of storms that produced a wind gust of 73 mph near Rushmore in southwest Minnesota. The National Weather Service also reported gusts of 67 mph near Fairmont and 63 mph near Trimont.

There were several severe thunderstorm warnings across far southern Minnesota during the early morning hours.

In addition to strong winds, the storms brought very heavy rain to central and southern Minnesota — with much more on the way over the coming days.

A flood watch is in effect for much of the region, and the weather service said the rounds of heavy rain could add up to 3 to 6 inches over the next week. That could lead to flash flooding as well as river flooding.

Moderate to major flooding is forecast along the South Fork Crow River west of the Twin Cities. Carver County has closed County Highway 123 between Watertown and Mayer due to rising water levels.

Officials in Delano are preparing to respond to flooding along the Crow River. Water levels were nearing 15 feet as of Monday morning, and are forecast to reach moderate flood levels above 17 feet by Wednesday.

A country road with water around it indicating a possible flood risk-5
County Highway 123 in Mayor experienced flooding.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Mayor Holly Schrupp says crews installed electric pumps in low areas of town Monday morning. Staff are prepared to install the city’s metal flood wall later this week.

“We have certain river levels that we take different actions at,” Schrupp said. “Public works is working on making sure that we have everything we need in place.”

Schrupp says the city will keep its social media updated with information on flooding and any road closures.

Flood warnings are also in effect for parts of the Minnesota River.

Find more forecast details on the MPR Weather Updraft blog.