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“I’ve been here twice today already,” Menne said, looking out onto the submerged Hwy. 93, “and every time it’s higher.”
Road closures metrowide
Crews in Warroad set up concrete barriers Saturday to stop Lake of the Woods from flooding the town.
In Shakopee, MnDOT crews re-striped Hwy. 169 between County Road 18 and Pioneer Trail, creating an extra lane to help with rerouted traffic due to flooding road closures on Hwys. 41 and 101. And in Burnsville, one lane of northbound Interstate 35 was closed between Cliff Road and Black Dog Road to build a temporary dike for nearby businesses.
“This is inconveniencing hundreds of thousands of people,” Schmidt said of the closed bridges and roads. “It’s pretty major.”
In a rare step, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock gate in Minneapolis to help the rushing waters of the Mississippi River flow and ease flooding — only the sixth time it’s ever been done. It will help pass an extra 10,000 to 14,000 cubic feet per second through the lock chamber — enough water to fill an Olympic-sized pool every three to four seconds, spokesman Patrick Moes said.
“That’s extremely rare,” he said. “It’s impressive.”
‘It won’t take much’
River and lake levels aren’t going to recede for a while — especially with this week’s predicted rain. While the July 4th weekend is less than two weeks away, officials already are expecting water levels to be too high for water recreation on area lakes and rivers.
Since Jan. 1, a record-smashing 25.2 inches of precipitation have been recorded at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — eclipsing the January-through-June mark of 21 inches set in 2001.
Now, rain rolling in Sunday is expected to add a half-inch to 1 inch of rain in the Twin Cities and the southwest portion of the state. Then, scattered showers are expected almost every day during the week, dropping anything from an inch of rain to as much as 2 to 4 inches through Friday, meteorologist Joe Calderone said.
“It won’t take much” to have additional impacts on rivers and lakes, he said.
Heavy rain also fell across the Red River Valley, causing some street and bridge closures and park flooding in Fargo, N.D., but nothing like the massive flooding in recent springs. The river is expected to crest in the Fargo-Moorhead area on Monday.
Staff writer Bill McAuliffe contributed to this report.
Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141