Flood cleanup continues in northeast Minnesota. Rivers still rising across the state

St. Louis County flooding
Heavy rains and high water washed out this culvert in Linden Grove Township, Minn., shown here Wednesday, June 19, 2024, near the intersection of Lind Road and Range Line Road.
Courtesy of St. Louis County

Crews continued working Thursday to repair dozens of roads and highways washed out across northeast Minnesota by runoff from torrential rain on Tuesday.

Rivers also continue to rise across the state. And more rain, possibly heavy at times, is in the forecast for the coming days.

More than a half-foot of rain fell on parts of northern Minnesota earlier this week. All of that water continues to swell rivers and creeks across the region.

Parts of the city of Cook, north of the Iron Range, were inundated Wednesday by floodwaters from the Little Fork River. The flooding forced some downtown businesses to close Thursday.

The St. Louis County Board held an emergency meeting Thursday morning in Virginia in response to this week’s flooding. The board approved a local disaster declaration. The county reported more than 40 roads closed due to flooding.

To the east, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said State Highway 1 remains closed between Ely and the North Shore due to a couple of washouts.

The Superior National Forest said some Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness entry points are inaccessible due to road washouts.

Officials issued an advisory for anyone traveling in the BWCA, saying visitors “should expect to encounter high and fast-moving water throughout the wilderness after recent rain events. Portage landings may be flooded, difficult to discern, and located near swift moving water. Consider the skills and abilities of your entire group when planning travel routes. If conditions exceed your group’s abilities, turn around and exit the wilderness. Remember to always wear your lifejacket.”

Rivers and waterfalls along the North Shore also are running high from the storm runoff, and state park officials urged visitors to use caution and watch for trail closures.

Southern Minnesota flooding

Flood warnings remain in place for stretches of the Minnesota, Mississippi, Crow and Cottonwood rivers in southern Minnesota.

The Crow River is forecast to crest at major flood stage in Delano this weekend. Earlier this week, the city said its public works employees “proactively placed portions of the floodwall outside of Bridge Avenue to reduce response time in case of an emergency.”

Along the Minnesota River, Highway 19 east of Henderson is closed due to water over the road. The Highway 41 crossing at Chaska is set to close Thursday morning.

All of that water will enter the Mississippi River at St. Paul, where a flood warning is also in effect. The National Weather Service says the river is forecast to crest next week in major flood stage, close to a level that would cause flooding at Harriet Island.

The city of Waterville is also experiencing flooding, and is asking residents to limit water usage. Le Sueur County Emergency Management said volunteers are needed to help with sandbagging efforts.

And there’s more heavy rain in the forecast over the coming days, which could cause flooding to worsen.

Find forecast updates on MPR Weather’s Updraft blog.