When Melissa Rice went to bed Sunday night, she knew there was a chance for inclement weather and prayed there would not be a tornado.
There was no tornado in Baldwin, Wis., but hours of heavy rain — up to 9 inches according to some estimates — brought flooding that washed out roads and sent gallons of water pouring into basements all across town.
The torrent had law enforcement conducting water rescues and evacuations in Baldwin, a town about 40 miles east of St. Paul. At least eight families were evacuated from houses near a creek and taken to a nearby community center, said Jeff Klatt, field service captain with the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office.
A man died after he lost control while driving on a water-covered road. Gary Parent, 70, of Emerald, Wis., crashed on County Road E near Hwy. 63 about 5:15 a.m. He was pulled from his submerged van and taken to a hospital where he later died, Klatt said.
At least five other motorists standing on the roofs of their cars were rescued from rushing water on Hwy. 63 in the Baldwin area, Klatt said.
The storms, which rumbled through the southern Twin Cities metro area before striking western Wisconsin, also flooded roads. In Lakeville, police said southbound Cedar Avenue south of Dodd Road was flooded. Water swamped the intersection of 167th Street and Gladiola Avenue and Gerdine Path. A fallen tree blocked 184th Street at Kenyon Avenue.
But the eastern side of St. Croix County was particularly hard hit. The Sheriff's Office said numerous roads and bridges were washed out and many roads were impassable.
"We urge everyone to use extreme caution if you have to travel," the Sheriff's Office said. "Be very cautious of submerged roadways in low-lying areas and blind corners."
Rice said her only trip out Monday would be to Menards for cleanup supplies.
She woke up at 2:45 a.m. and saw 6 inches of water pooled outside her basement window. Then it came gushing in and more water rose from below the floors of her century-old house, she said. Rice put on her rubber boots and hauled most of her valuables upstairs. Her hardwood floors were ruined.
"I'm calling in friends with dehumidifiers and Shop-Vacs," she said Monday. Her losses were minimal, but "it's a gross mess to clean up."
Maitland Miller, who lives in Baldwin, posted a video of water rushing through town on Facebook. Some of her neighbors had several feet of water in their basements and others told her it's the worst flooding they had ever seen in the village of about 4,000.
"It's scary stuff," she said. "It's like a big river flowing, not a calm creek."
Rain totals as of noon Monday included 9.1 inches in Glenwood City, which is near Baldwin. Other readings included 8.2 inches in Baldwin and Hammond, and 7.25 inches in River Falls.
More rain may be on its way. An additional inch of rain was possible on Monday night and Tuesday, the Weather Service said.
Parts of southern Minnesota also got drenched and experienced flooding. Heavy rain led to mudslides on Hwy. 169 south of St. Peter and on Hwy. 68 near Courtland, just east of New Ulm, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.
In the metro area, rain totals included 4 to 6 inches in Burnsville, Apple Valley, Hastings and Miesville, while gauges in Lakeville, Woodbury and Afton measured more than 4 inches, the Weather Service said.
In St. Paul, flooding damaged the DFL Headquarters on Plato Boulevard. Water covered the floors in the kitchen and some offices. The extent of the damage was not immediately known, said spokesman Brian Evans.
The deluge helped break a dry period, NWS meteorologist Jim Taggart said.
"We kind of needed rain, but not as much as they got," Taggart said.
After the rain, temperatures are expected to shoot into the 90s across much of west-central Minnesota and the Twin Cities.
Heat indexes will likely exceed 100 degrees across west-central Minnesota and 95 degrees in the Twin Cities metro area, the Weather Service said.