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Rising water levels close bridges, impact travel


Water levels on many Minnesota rivers continue to rise up to or past flood stage, which could snarl traffic as bridges and roads close throughout the state.

Minnesota Department of Transportation officials closed the Stillwater Lift Bridge at 10 a.m. Monday due to high water levels on the St. Croix River. The bridge, which connects Minnesota Highway 36 and Wisconsin Highway 64, will be closed until water levels drop.

Transportation officials suggest motorists use Interstate 94 or Highway 243 as detours.

MnDOT added extra lanes to Highway 169 between County Road 18 and Pioneer Trail near Shakopee to help carry extra traffic caused by the flooding of Highways 41 and 101, KSTP reports.

Officials also closed two of three lanes on northbound Interstate 35W in Burnsville Sunday to build a dike against the rising Minnesota River, but all lanes were expected to be open in time for Monday's commute.

Here's a look at the high water levels on the Minnesota River at the Highway 99 bridge in St. Peter:

The National Weather Service has issued flooding warnings for many communities along Minnesota's rivers until water levels recede. The weather service also has an interactive map that shows all the river flooding in the state, and how severe it is.

The Crow River is reaching historic levels, which has residents in Delano preparing for flooding they haven't seen in about 50 years. The river is currently at 20.64 feet, the flood stage is 16.5 feet, the National Weather Service says.

Delano's mayor told KSTP that major flooding concerns are at bay for now because temporary dikes and levees are doing their job.

The Mississippi River is above flood stage in parts of southern Minnesota, including Wabasha and Winona, which were seeing minor flooding Monday morning. The river also threatens some neighborhoods in St. Paul, the Star Tribune notes.

Officials predict the Mississippi River will crest in St. Paul and Hastings on Thursday, according to a news release. KSTP says water predictions show the Mississippi River is slower to rise than most rivers because of its size, but that also means it'll be slower to fall – communities affected to flooding could see ramifications for days after cresting.

Life is getting back to normal for people along Rainy River near International Falls, the Duluth News Tribune reports, but residents living near Rainy Lake are bracing for waters to rise another half-foot in the coming week.

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

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is heading to Washington, D.C. Monday to ask President Barack Obama for help for the many Minnesotans impacted by recent flooding.

“This wasn’t a one day, one moment event — like a tornado. It was torrential rain that really eroded much of our crops and hurt our infrastructure,” Klobuchar told WCCO.

The news station says the state must reach $7.3 million in damages to qualify for federal disaster relief, which Klobuchar and Gov. Mark Dayton think will be surpassed.

Dayton is meeting Monday to decide if he'll extend a state of emergency he issued last Thursday in 35 Minnesota counties, ABC 6 reports.

For those needing to file insurance claims due to flooding damage, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has information on its website.

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