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State officials advise no unnecessary travel in metro

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Another round of heavy rain may complicate the afternoon commute in the metro, and state officials Thursday afternoon advised no unnecessary travel in areas of recent flooding in the Twin Cities.

The state Department of Public Safety in a press release said: "Road conditions are changing quickly. Officials warn that roads may be closed or restricted without warning as flash flooding and mud slides are difficult to predict." No specific guidance is given about what type of travel is "unnecessary."

Many roads all over the state are already flooded or near-flooded – a flash flood watch is in effect until 1 a.m. Friday for much of central Minnesota, including Hennepin, Anoka, Carver and Scott counties.

The Department of Transportation is keeping a running list of highway closures. And the Star Tribune has a live blog with weather and travel information.

But in short, there's a flood risk just about "anywhere there is a river or stream," WCCO's Mike Augustyniak said.

Now add more potentially pounding rain to your drive home, forecasters say.

Augustyniak says the metro could receive an additional 1-3 inches of rain starting this afternoon and through the evening.

Meteorologist Paul Douglas says it could be 4-8 inches by tonight, rivaling a superstorm in 1987.

Here's what the radar forecast for 5 p.m. looks like, KARE 11 reports.

And here's what NOAA says it will look like at 5 p.m.:

State Department of Transportation officials note that 6 inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, which can cause drivers to lose control or stall. A foot of water will float many vehicles, and 2 feet of rushing water can sweep most vehicles away, including sport utility vehicles and pickups.

Department of Public Safety officials offer these tips:

  • Expect the unexpected – flash floods can occur anytime, anywhere.
  • Do not drive around barricades or into flooded areas.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, if you can do so safely.

The National Weather Service joins a chorus of state safety officials who warn drivers – and kayakers – to stay away from floodwaters:

Even before any afternoon storm, it was already the wettest June 19th ever in the Twin Cities. As of 1 p.m., 4.66 inches of rain had fallen since midnight at National Weather Service in Chanhassen, and 4.61 inches was measured at Flying Cloud Apt. in Eden Prairie.

Other rainfall totals (since midnight), from WCCO:

Belle Plaine: 6.4 inches
Chaska: 6.13 inches
Bloomington: 4.5 inches
Waconia: 4.35 inches
Edina: 3.77 inches

The water is taking a toll on the roads. Check out this stretch of county road near Belle Plain:

And from BringMeTheNews reader Brent Olson, in Loman, in far northern Minnesota, where the Black River is over its banks, and residents have witnessed the wettest June since 1895:

Time to get the rain plows out?

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