Flooding causes widespread road closures in central Minnesota


Monday night's heavy rainfall has forced officials to close numerous roads in central Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.

The National Weather Service warns of "widespread road closures" due to flooding and wash outs across the Brainerd Lakes and Aitkin areas after the area picked up more than 6 inches of rain.

MnDOT says there's water on Highway 371 in Brainerd, Garrison, Aitkin and Crosby areas, noting ditches are full of water and some culverts are "overwhelmed."


Interstate 35 was also closed for a period of time, the National Weather Service says, and the Pine County Sheriff's Office has a list of roads that are closed or partially closed.

Weather officials are asking motorists to avoid flooded roadways – just six inches of water can knock down an adult, while 12 inches of water can carry away a small car.

For the latest on road conditions, check out MnDOT's website here. And for the latest on the flash flooding, check out the National Weather Service's website here.


Concern for Mississippi River flooding

There's also concern about the Mississippi River near Aitkin, where water levels continue to rise and the National Weather Service says there could be "catastrophic flooding."


No wake area in Cass County

High water levels on area waterways has prompted the Cass County Sheriff's Office to advise a no wake area within 300 feet of shoreline on all area lakes until the water levels recede, and to use "extreme caution" while boating in high water areas.

Sheriff Tom Burch is asking homeowners to make sure all boat lifts, docks and rafts are properly secured so they don't float loose.

Other bodies of water are also seeing flooding:


Tornadoes damage homes

The National Weather Service issued a preliminary report from the July 11 storms, noting there were at least four tornadoes Meeker and Stearns counties.

The hardest hit areas were the town of Watkins, northwest Litchfield, and some areas near St. Cloud, the National Weather Service says.

The Meeker County Sheriff's Office says three tornadoes were observed in the county. One was spotted in Litchfield, which destroyed several homes and damaged others, as well as downed numerous trees and damaged several vehicles, including a semi and trailer.

A tornado in Watkins damaged approximately 25 homes – 12 with major damage – and at least five businesses, including the Hilltop Healthcare Center, prompted people to be relocated.

A third tornado was spotted by Lake Koronis, causing some building damage.

As of Tuesday morning, only one minor injury had been reported from the storms, the weather service says.


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