Heavy rainfall makes it wettest start to year since 1871


It's official – it's the wettest day of 2014 for the Twin Cities.

Many could have come to that conclusion on their own based on the flooded roads Thursday, but here are some official numbers.

Between midnight and 10 a.m., Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport had already gotten 3 inches of rain, making it the wettest single day of 2014 – which is now the wettest start to the year since 1871, according to a tweet from meteorologist Paul Douglas. Added FOX 9's Cody Matz:

Heavy Thursday rainfall has saturated the already wet ground, creating dangerous conditions throughout the state. The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for most of the metro until 6:30 p.m., while flood warnings extend into Friday and Saturday in other areas of the state.

Thursday morning's rain swelled streams and sent water gushing onto roads and highways. State officials urged no unnecessary travel around the Twin Cities and Mankato ahead of the afternoon commute as roads remained flooded and another round of heavy rain was expected.

The Star Tribune reported in a live blog of Thursday's weather that crews have been scrambling to find enough "road closed" signs to put at county roads that feed into Highway 169 in Scott County – a 3-5 mile stretch of that highway is underwater near Belle Plaine.

Numerous roads in Scott County were closed due to flooding and mudslides Thursday, and some communities were evacuated. The Valley Green Trailer Park off Highway 169 in Jordan was evacuated due to high water on Sand Creek, FOX 9 reports.

Some people were evacuated from Blakeley Township, located just south of Belle Plaine off Highway 169, as officials closed all roads leading to the township, the news station notes.

Highway 77 near 84th street in Bloomington was overflowing as commuters tried to get to work Thursday morning – the Minnesota Department of Transportation tried to alleviate the flooding by opening drains, which helped clear the area before the thick of the morning rush, FOX 9 reports.

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The Minnesota Department of Transportation has the latest road closures on its website. The City of Minneapolis also has a list of roads that are closed due to flooding. And a little safety tip when dealing with flooded roads:

Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis made for some spectacular photos, this one from Pioneer Press photographer Ben Garvin:

Garvin also captured this image of the Hiawatha and Minnehaha sculpture near Minnehaha Falls, which looks like a floodwater rescue:

Minnehaha Creek at Hiawatha Avenue was up nearly a foot this morning, according to the USGS gauge, and caused it to overflow in some places.

All the rain made for an interesting scene at the University of Minnesota:

The land of 10,000 lakes started to look like the land of one big lake as ponds, lakes and rivers overflowed.

Officials say all the rain led to the collapse of a retaining wall at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Thursday morning. The rain also led to slight delays on some flights, WCCO reports.

The flooded streets didn't bother everyone, though. Steve Smith, who lives on Nottingham Trail in Eden Prairie, captured a photo of his yellow lab Kota swimming down the street Thursday morning:

Imagine if all this rain was snow. If all the precipitation the Twin Cities has gotten in the last six months was snow, it would total a whopping 10.5 feet, FOX 9 says.

The Twin Cities has had more than 10 inches of rain for the month of June, and in the past 80 days, the metro has received 19.73 inches of rain, which is equal to two-thirds of an average annual rainfall, the news station notes.

Recent relentless rains have prompted Gov. Mark Dayton to declare a state of emergency Thursday for 35 counties dealing with flooding.

And there's more to come. The metro could easily get another few inches of rain by the end of the day Thursday as thunderstorms continue to move through the area. More thunderstorms are also expected to roll in this afternoon, some of which could be severe, the National Weather Service says.

The good news: Skies will dry out on Friday. It's expected to be mostly sunny with a high of 86 degrees. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday, however, the weather service says.

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