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‘Dangerous’ flash flooding possible with tonight’s storms

Things could get dangerous tonight, weather officials warn.

Thunderstorms, which are expected to produce very heavy rain, are forecast to move through southern Minnesota Wednesday afternoon into Thursday.

The area could pick up 2-4 inches of rain, with localized 6-plus inches possible, the National Weather Service says.

All this heavy rain – coupled with the “very wet” summer we had and already higher-than-normal water levels on rivers – “will contribute to a significant risk of flooding,” the weather service warns.

That’s why weather officials have issued a flash flood watch for an area that includes eastern Minnesota and the Twin Cities, most of southern Minnesota, western Wisconsin and northern Iowa. (See map below.)

The National Weather Service says its confidence is “fairly high” for the amount of rain it’s predicting, noting the weather pattern mimics other high-end rainfall events – like the Sept. 23, 2010, storm that dumped 5-8 inches of rain across all of southern Minnesota and caused “major flooding.”

Some flooding and rock slides have already been reported in southeastern Minnesota.

Weather officials are urging people to stay weather aware throughout this storm. For tips on how to stay safe when there’s flooding, click here.

Hail, strong winds possible

Heavy rain and flooding isn’t the only threat. Thunderstorms – some of which may be severe – are expected to become “fairly widespread” by Wednesday night, the National Weather Service says.

Southern Minnesota is under a “slight” risk of seeing some severe weather. The threats include large hail, damaging downburst winds, and maybe a tornado (although the threat for one is low).

And the wet weather isn’t done yet. The forecast shows a pretty good chance of rain through the weekend.

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