Concerned about unstable river bluffs, officials closed a stretch of West River Parkway along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis late Thursday.

The closure was near the site of a June 2014 mudslide that shut down the parkway for more than two years. But an inspection on Friday morning revealed no sign of a reported mudslide, said Dawn Sommers, a spokeswoman for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. 

The parkway and a nearby trail were closed in the area between E. Franklin Avenue and S. 4th Street.

Thunderstorms rolled eastward across the Twin Cities Thursday evening. The storms also caused some minor flooding on metro area roads, including Interstate 94 in St. Paul and in the northern suburbs.

The rain and wind brought some relief from the stifling heat and humidity that hung over much of Minnesota all day Thursday. But more storms were possible overnight, the National Weather Service in Chanhassen warned, which could renew the threat of both street flooding and flash floods.

Friday will bring more hot weather, with a high near 84 and a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms, the Weather Service said. Rain is also possible through the weekend.

Earlier Thursday, a weather system moving eastward through Minnesota overnight dumped “incredible” amounts of rain in several east-central counties, prompting flash flood warnings in a widespread area including Brainerd, Mora, Hinckley, Aitkin and Lake Vermilion.

Some areas received more than 6 inches of rain in just a few hours before and after sunrise, the National Weather Service said, adding that the precipitation totals could prove to be historic.

“These rainfall rates ... are INCREDIBLE!” the Duluth NWS office tweeted about 5 a.m. Thursday. There were reports of flash flooding in the wider area, including at Hill City, a town of about 600 residents in Aitkin County. The entire area south of Lake Vermilion, already sodden from recent rains, was under a flood warning, with road washouts expected.

The weather system was accompanied by thunderstorms that produced as many as 1,500 lightning strikes in 15 minutes, the Weather Service reported.


Staff writers John Reinan and Pamela Miller contributed to this report.