Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

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

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

Sign up for our BREAKING WEATHER newsletters

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

Screen Shot 2019-09-13 at 7.19.01 AM

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. 

Next Up

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Woman in critical condition after being shot in the head in St. Paul

Officers responded to the incident at around 2:45 a.m. Saturday.

Alexander Mattison

Vikings-Lions: 5 things you can count on

It's a great time for the Vikings to play the Lions.

covid

Omicron variant confirmed in Wisconsin man who traveled to South Africa

Five other cases have been confirmed and linked to a Wisconsin wedding.

Sharon Mollerus - duluth - snow plow car

Sunday snowstorm walloping MN's North Shore with huge totals

Just ridiculous snow totals expected the rest of Sunday.

Screen Shot 2021-12-05 at 6.49.03 AM

Saturday snow causes havoc on Twin Cities roads

There were countless spinouts and crashes across Minnesota.

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild win battle of NHL's hottest teams, extend winning streak to six

Kirill Kaprizov delivered a shootout winner to take down the Maple Leafs.

Eric Kendricks

Vikings downgrade Eric Kendricks to out against Lions

The Vikings have also activated Michael Pierce from injured reserve.

u.s. attorney

Minnesotan sentenced after assaulting man with baseball bat

Marshall Wayne Boshey was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Target store

Target's gift card discount is back, but for this weekend only

The fine print: for Target Circle members only (but membership is free).

Related

flash flooding

Torrential rain causes flash flooding in the Twin Cities

Storms are training over the same areas, leading to big-time rain totals.

flooding

Flash flooding as storms dump on Minnesota, Wisconsin

Ridiculous rainfall totals have washed out roads in western Wisconsin.

Hwy. 93 flooding

Up to 10 inches of rain pummels south-central Minnesota

Areas to the north of Mankato were hit the hardest.

Nemadji River

Major rain totals fuel quick rises in rivers near Duluth-Superior

The Nemadji River appears to have crested Tuesday morning.

flash flooding

Another round of torrential rain, storms possible Monday night

The heaviest rains could fall in east-central Minnesota.

flash flooding

Ahead of Hurricane Laura, 'Predecessor Rain Event' could impact MN, WI

Known as a "PRE," these events happen ahead of a tropical cyclone's track.

flash flooding

Twin Cities in flash flood watch with torrential rain likely

Some locations could get up to 5 inches of rain.

Sartell flooding road

Heavy rain, flooding, severe storms all possible through Thursday

Folks in southern Minnesota could pick up ridiculous rain totals.