Heavy rain floods streets, knocks out power to parts of Twin Cities area

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 14, 2013 - 6:40 AM

Up to 4 inches of rain fell in the metro area; Rice County, to the south, got 8. Streets were flooded and power was out.

Heavy rains early Saturday flooded metro area streets, forced the evacuation of houses near Northfield and knocked out power to thousands of Twin Cities homes.

It was a bit of déjà vu after the late June storm that knocked out power for days and uprooted trees across the metro. But instead of high winds, an early morning storm Saturday dished out as much as 4 inches of rain in the metro and 8 inches of rain in the southern part of the state.

“That is extraordinary,” said Chris Franks, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Chanhassen. “That’s not something that happens every summer.

“If we would have thrown that over the heart of the metro, it could have been really bad,” Franks said, adding that all the pavement in the metro couldn’t absorb that much rain. “We would have been floating cars all over the place.”

In Rice County, up to 8 inches of rain left three county roads and four township roads damaged, Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn said. Rushing water also severed a gas line, washed out railroad tracks and flooded three homes in Dundas. Rescue crews evacuated residents by boat, but no one was injured.

“We haven’t had a washout this bad in a long time,” he said.

“The bull’s-eye was right here in Rice County,” said Dundas resident Anthony Sommers, who didn’t have any damage to his home. “It’s the worst I’ve ever seen.”

About 3 miles away in Northfield, the Cannon River rose 7 feet within 12 hours — and was still rising Saturday afternoon, according to the Weather Service. The Froggy Bottoms River Pub filled sandbags to divert the water.

On Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis, the rain delayed the start of the Lifetime Tri and altered the triathlon course. In Rosemount, lightning is believed to have caused a fire that engulfed a home around 6 a.m. Saturday. And at 7 a.m., downed power lines took out power to 11,000 metro residents from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. By Saturday afternoon, Xcel Energy crews had restored power to most of those homes.

In the southwestern suburbs, public works crews scrambled Saturday to alleviate overwhelmed storm drains that flooded streets from Bloomington to Shakopee. According to meteorologist Paul Douglas, cities from Lakeville and Shakopee received more than 4 inches of rain. Eden Prairie and Chanhassen reported 4.5 inches of rain — about five weeks’ worth of rainfall.

According to forecasters, this week will dry out for a few days, ushering in high humidity and temperatures in the 90s. The forecast for later this week, though: more thunderstorms.

 

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141 • Twitter: @kellystrib

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