Recent rains have caused moderate flooding of the Minnesota River between Mankato and the Twin Cities, leading to the closure of a few bridges and highways, with the weather forecast threatening more to come.
“We do have a fairly decent flood for a summertime going down the Minnesota River especially, as well as the tributaries,” said Craig Schmidt, service hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. “South-central, southwest Minnesota picked up anywhere from 8 to 14 inches over the last two weeks of rainfall, so that really got all the rivers flowing and a lot of moderate to even major flooding on a couple of the tributaries.”
That flow has drained into the Minnesota, leading to minor flooding from Mankato to the Twin Cities, Schmidt said. He said flood warnings will remain in effect on the Minnesota River through July 4th holiday, and at Savage, probably through July 10.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation closed Hwy. 93 Monday from Hwy. 169 to Le Sueur until further notice. Motorists are advised to use Hwy. 112 to access Le Sueur. This adds to other recent road closures from the swelling Minnesota River, including Hwy. 19 east of Henderson and Hwy. 93 from Hwy. 169 to Henderson.
On Tuesday, MnDOT closed the Hwy. 41 bridge and its approaches between Shakopee and Chaska. The road was closed between Hwy. 169 near Shakopee and Chaska Boulevard in Chaska and will remain closed until it’s safe to reopen. The stretch includes one of the south metro’s busiest bridges, which last closed for flooding in June 2014.
The NWS Chanhassen office projected that the Minnesota River will continue to rise to more than 30 feet by Thursday. Weekend forecasts are for hot weather with a chance for thunderstorms that could dump some heavy rain, Schmidt said.
Jed Falgren, maintenance engineer for MNDOT District 7 in Mankato, said Hwy. 99 east of St. Peter also might be closed later this week. And in southwestern Minnesota, Hwy. 4, 1½ miles north of Sherburne, is closed because of a local watershed that’s flooding.
In Burnsville, MnDOT also planned Wednesday to close traffic lanes on Interstate 35W between Cliff Road and Black Dog Road to allow road crews to build a dike to prevent flooding there. All lanes were expected to reopen Wednesday night.
The St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned to close a park near De Soto, Wis., and three Mississippi River landings due to high water levels. The areas will reopen as conditions allow, according to a news release.
Flooding is difficult to predict and roads may be closed or restricted without warning. MnDOT is closely monitoring rivers throughout the area. Motorists should check road conditions at www.511mn.org.