More rain on the way; Stillwater lift bridge to close


Soggy Minnesota didn't get much time to dry out.

After two sunny and warm days to kick off the official start of summer, more rain is in the forecast. Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall will likely develop by Sunday afternoon and linger into Monday morning for much of central and southern Minnesota, which has been washed out by heavy rains and flooding as of late, according to the National Weather Service.

Many communities are preparing for rivers to crest at unusually high levels for this time of year, which could cause moderate to major flooding in the days to come – especially with more rain on the way.

Craig Schmidt, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, told the Star Tribune that "there's just nowhere for [the rain] to go. Every corner [of Minnesota] — from International Falls to I-90 [is experiencing flooding]. It’s unusual to get this much rain for this long.”

Swollen rivers have prompted the weather service to issue a flood warning for much of the lower third of the state, including the Twin Cities, until further notice. There's also a flash flood watch in effect for much of the metro area and southern Minnesota from 4 p.m. Sunday through Monday morning.

Minnesota transportation officials say the Stillwater lift bridge, which spans the St. Croix River, will close to auto traffic at 10 a.m. Monday because of rising water levels on the river, according to KSTP. Motorists are encouraged to use the Interstate 94 bridge to Hudson or the Highway 243 bridge to Osceola to cross the river into Wisconsin. The St. Croix is expected to reach flood stage on Tuesday.

MnDOT is also closing two lanes of traffic on Interstate 35W in Burnsville, beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, to build a dike to keep floodwaters off the highway.

Northbound traffic will be reduced from three lanes to one lane between Burnsville Parkway and Black Dog Road. The lanes should be reopened in time for the Monday morning commute, according to KSTP.

Flooding woes are impacting many Minnesotans. Roads, some which looked more like rivers or were completely washed out by mudslides last week, still remain closed throughout the state, especially in the south. You can find a full list of road closures and other flooding issues here.

Spotty to isolated thunderstorms are possible throughout the week as this unsettled weather pattern continues, KARE 11 says. The best chance of rain will likely be in the afternoon and evening of each day with high temperatures in the upper 70s for the Twin Cities, the news station notes.

Waters on many lakes are rivers are at all-time highs, and with this week's expected rain, which could total 2 to 4 inches, they aren't expected to recede for awhile. Officials are saying water levels will likely be too high for water recreation on many lakes and rivers over 4th of July weekend, which is just less than two weeks away, the Star Tribune says.

Bright side to all this rain? All the rain has replenished water levels at shrunken White Bear Lake.

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