Heavy rain fell across south-central Minnesota Tuesday, flooding streets in Rochester, shutting down Interstate 90 near Austin for a time and causing rivers and creeks to spill over their banks.
A possible tornado was spotted near Albert Lea as the storms barreled through the area.
I-90 was closed in both directions for about 30 minutes between exit 178B in Mapleview and exit 180B in Austin due to water on the road, according to the State Patrol and state transportation officials.
Rochester was pummeled with showers Tuesday evening. Closed streets and stalled cars were reported as the city accumulated about 5 inches of rain — the highest in the state, said Caleb Grunzke, meteorologist National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
Earlier Tuesday, a possible tornado was reported south of Myrtle at 6:38 p.m., the NWS said. Someone driving in the area called it in; the NWS will do a damage report to see if it was a confirmed tornado. Several tornado watches and one warning, in Winona County, were in effect mid-evening.
Meanwhile other areas of the state, from south central Minnesota into west central Wisconsin, have the potential for flash flooding.
“Thunderstorms will likely train over the same areas for at least a few hours, leading to rapid accumulation of rainfall. Areas within the Flash Flood Watch have a high likelihood of 2 to 4 inches of rain through tonight, which may result in flash flooding,” the service said.
Mankato and surrounding areas in south-central Minnesota braced for possible flooding after several inches of rain.
Just before 9 p.m., Faribault reported 2.27 inches, Red Wing nearly 2 and Mankato 1.4.
Grunzke said the rain will start tapering off Wednesday morning to late afternoon. A cold front is expected midday bringing cooler, dryer temperatures hovering in the low 70s.
“It’ll be very pleasant outside compared to what we are seeing the past four days,” Grunzke said.