With historic flooding already across much of the state and more rain on the way, emergency management leaders and Gov. Tim Walz told Minnesotans the state is prepared to respond, but residents need to be alert and cautious.

"The professionals are here. They know what they're doing," Walz said from the state's emergency management operations center in downtown St. Paul. "The state is well-resourced."

Flooded areas span the state from the Iron Range to the Rapidan Dam on the Blue Earth River near Mankato that is being monitored for potential failure. Fields of crops throughout the state are underwater and on the verge of destruction as Twin Cities communities close roads in preparation for the coming crests of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.

The governor held a morning news conference with several Cabinet members including Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Transportation Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger, Public Safety Commissioner Bob Jacobson, National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen and Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen. National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Hawblitzel and Emergency Management Director Kristi Rollwagen also spoke.

"The response to this emergency is no small feat, but we are ready," Jacobson, the public safety commissioner, said. The state has a strong network of short- and long-term resources, he said.

The National Guard's Manke said 46 soldiers had been deployed to Waterville to staff and monitor pump stations around the clock. The guard can also provide high-water vehicles, helicopter support and engineering assets in flooded communities, he said.

Meteorologist Hawblitzel said some areas have received 8- to 9-inche above normal rainfall in June. Parts of southern Minnesota have received a foot of rain in the past week. "So the resulting impacts on rivers and streams around the area has been quite severe. We have several rivers that are in major flood stage, at many points meeting or exceeding record flood levels," he said.

The rivers most affected include the Minnesota, Crow, Cottonwood, Des Moines, Cannon and Mississippi. All are at major flood stage at points and some are still rising, Hawblitzel said. "We can't emphasize enough the importance of staying alert," he said.

There will be a break in the rain at midweek, but more rain is predicted at the end of the week and potentially in the weeks and months ahead. "It's a tough situation to predict," Hawblitzel said, noting that any more water will add to the flood. "The ground's saturated. It has nowhere to go," he said of the rain.

Rollwagen, the emergency management director, issued a plea for Minnesotans to abide by caution signs placed by community first responders and to stay out of the water. Not only is the water contaminated, but even a few inches of swift water can sweep away an adult and a foot can sweep away a vehicle.

"The water is moving fast. It is dangerous," Rollwagen said. "We want you to turn around. We don't want you to drown. We don't want you to become part of an unfortunate event."

Rescuing those who fail to abide by the signs also pulls resources away from where they're needed, she and the others said.

Daubenberger, the transportation commissioner, repeatedly said that motorists should check the 511mn.org website for reports of road closures.

On Friday, Walz and Jacobson were in Biwabik and Cook, but said the rising waters are now a concern in the southern part of the state. The governor said 40 counties have been hit so far, with seven having applied for emergency assistance.

The governor called the flooding unprecedented, but said the state's disaster assistance fund is robust with $26.4 million right now and another $50 million going into the account in September. The fund helps counties that don't qualify for federal assistance.

His office also is monitoring the damage to request federal disaster declarations, Walz said, adding that the need for help will be great.

Petersen, the ag commissioner, said problems will continue for weeks after the floods recede because farmers can't get fertilizer on the crops and will have to cope with an influx of pests brought by the high waters. He urged them to report their problems to their local U.S. Department of Agriculture offices.