After days of storms that have saturated southern Minnesota’s soil, flooded streets and basements, made rivers run high and fast, closed park trails and created a major problem with livestock manure basins, more rain is coming Saturday night.
Even before the next round of rain, Minneapolis already was on track to have its wettest year on record, said Bill Borghoff, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. The city’s annual precipitation record of 40.15 inches was set in 1911, and so far this year, it’s had 30.89 inches — 6 more inches than normal for this time of year, he said.
Rochester, along with much of southeastern Minnesota, also is saturated. That city has soaked up 37.23 inches of precipitation this year, more than 10 inches above normal, Borghoff said.
Even before the heavy rains forecast for Saturday, more rain moved across a narrow swath from Red Wing westward to Fargo. Then, about 9 p.m. Saturday, another .5 to 1.5 inches of rain will fall across much of the state. While that amount isn’t likely to cause widespread flooding, it’s enough to prolong high river levels, Borghoff said.
More showers Sunday and Monday will keep things gray and wet, but the sun should bust out on Tuesday. Sunshine and above-normal temperatures in the 70s throughout most of next week will dry things out a bit, Borghoff said.
No deaths or serious injuries have been reported in Minnesota, but two men from Vernon County, in southwestern Wisconsin, died Thursday as the result of flooding, according to the Associated Press. Joseph Meme, 79, died when he tried to drive through floodwaters near his home, and Michael McDonald, 53, was killed when his house slid onto Hwy. 35.
The rain has made some rivers and trails off-limits in southeastern Minnesota.
The state Department of Natural Resources recommended on Friday that people stay off the Zumbro, Cannon, Straight, Whitewater and Root rivers, which are swollen and running fast because of the torrential rains. The Minnesota River in Jordan is expected to hit minor flood stage by Tuesday, the DNR said. And parts of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers are high and expected to keep rising over the next several days. (For river level reports, go to www.mndnr.gov/river_levels.)
Trails and campgrounds affected by the rain include:
• Cannon Valley Bike Trail: The stretch from Welch to Red Wing is closed, as well as the trailhead in Cannon Falls. Until floodwaters recede, the trail can be accessed from Cannon River Avenue, near the softball fields.
• Myre-Big Island State Park near Albert Lea: The heavy rains are in danger of overwhelming the water treatment system, so park officials have closed the showers, flush toilets, and trailer dump stations through the rest of the camping season, which ends Oct. 23. Drinking water and vault toilets will still be available at both campgrounds.
• Sakatah Lake State Park near Faribault: Hiking trails are closed until further notice. Campgrounds and other amenities are open.
• Nerstrand Big Woods State Park near Northfield: Park trails are closed until further notice. The campground, dump station and shower building are open.
• Whitewater State Park near Winona: Lower Cedar Campground is closed. The Gooseberry Campground was already closed because of stream rehab work.
• Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail: Closed between Sakatah Lake State Park west to state Hwy. 13.
• Minnesota Valley State Trail: Closed from Belle Plaine to Chaska.
• Root River State Trail: Closed between Whalan and Houston.
• Goodhue-Pioneer State Trail: The southern portion near Zumbrota is closed.
Meanwhile, state officials said Friday that some livestock manure basins may be nearing capacity because of heavy rains. Manure that spills over could contaminate groundwater and waterways, said Forrest Peterson, a spokesman for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
State officials have already helped several farmers who reported storage problems because of the rain. Peterson said the state Department of Agriculture and the MPCA would like to hear from others with manure storage problems, as well as those with extra capacity so solutions can be worked out. Farmers can call 1-800-422-0798.
Meanwhile, both state agencies are working with agriculture trade groups on contingency plans for the fall application of manure to fields, which also may be affected by the wet weather.