Torrential rains cause major flooding in Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin

The heavy rain shut down Interstate 90 in southern Minnesota on Thursday.
flooding on Interstate 90

Interstate 90 near Austin, Minnesota. 

Southern Minnesota was slammed with high rainfall totals over the last 48 hours, but the flooding concerns in the Land of 10,000 Lakes aren't as immediate as they are in portions of southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa and southwest Wisconsin. 

In South Dakota, record-setting rainfall totals were observed in numerous locations, with 6-8 inches of rain falling during the barrage of storms that battered the area – not to mention a trio of EF-2 tornadoes that tore through Sioux Falls. 

Nasty storms spread northeast out of Iowa into southeast Minnesota and southwest Wisconsin on Thursday, with many locations picking up 4+ inches of rain. Here are the highest totals in southeast Minnesota from Thursday's downpours. 

  • 4.18 inches - Dobbins Creek, Mower County
  • 3.79 inches - near Elba, Winona County
  • 3.77 inches - Lansing, at the Cedar River in Mower County
  • 3.51 inches - near Cummingsville, Fillmore County
  • 3.28 inches - near Austin, Fillmore County
  • 2.97 inches - 5 miles from Rochester, Olmsted County

It rained so hard so fast in Mower County that the Minnesota State Patrol shut down Interstate 90 near Austin for around four hours as water overran the freeway.

The closure began around 3 p.m., with the westbound lanes reopening around 7 p.m. and the eastbound lanes clearing enough to open by about 7:30 p.m. 

Twisted Truckers posted video of the surreal scene on Facebook, and the video has more than 275,000 views. 

The torrential rains are running off into waterways and causing rivers and streams to rise fast. The Cottonwood River near New Ulm rose from approximately five feet to 12 feet in 48 hours, and it'll continue to rise to a moderate flood stage of 15.1 feet before cresting on Saturday. 

In southwest Minnesota, the Minnesota River near Morton went from 14 feet Wednesday morning to more than 21 feet Friday, with a crest of approximately 24 feet by Sunday morning. That's at a moderate flood stage, just two feet from major flooding. 

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Flash flooding hit Red Wing, sending floodwaters into buildings and forcing shops like Red Wing Restyle to close for the week. 

"We are CLOSED for the remainder of the week, downtown experienced some flooding Tuesday night and expecting 2-4" of rain again Wednesday night, so until we are dry, we are closed," Red Wing Restyle notified its customers on Facebook

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In Pipestone, where more than six inches of rain fell, the Pipestone Creek rose from 13 feet to 21.52 feet, breaking the all-time record. Split Rock Creek in nearby Jasper also broke a record and reached major flood stage. 

In Sioux Falls and surrounding areas of South Dakota's largest city there are dozens of roads closed as incredible amounts of rain hammered the area. 

Interstate 90 remains closed west of Sioux Falls as of Friday morning. 

Isolated light showers are possible Friday with another chance of storms in parts of Minnesota on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. 

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