Some strong storms moved through Minnesota this afternoon and evening. A line of storms swept from west to east in the metro area, and although they were not severe, they dumped large amounts of rain in some spots. The photo below, from Sharon Stiteler, was taken at 32nd and Aldrich in Minneapolis, which also flooded during last week's heavy rains.
Flood warnings remain in effect along many rivers in Minnesota, including the Mississippi, the Minnesota, the Crow and the St. Croix, according to the National Weather Service. Even though most of them have crested, it will take several days for the water to fall toward more normal levels.
The Twin Cities Jazz Festival canceled all it outdoor shows Saturday evening because of the rain. They were to have been held in Mears Park in downtown St. Paul. But they moved to some nearby indoor venues, including the Amsterdam Bar and Hall and the Artists' Quarter Jazz Club. (Details here)
Communities across Minnesota are preparing for more rain that could come Sunday that threatens to oversaturate the state's already-swelled rivers and lakes. Rainfall predictions have been reduced from earlier this week, lessening the potential impact. But with water levels teetering on the brink of causing even more damage, towns and cities are keeping a watchful eye on the radar – and crossing their fingers.
The water level in Rainy Lake and the Rainy River has risen very little over the past few days, the Lake of the Woods Control Board said Saturday. But things are still on edge. Rainfall in the area over the next seven days is expected to add 2-4 inches to the lake's level – but that's only if the forecast is accurate.
"However, if the forecast is inaccurate, and heavy rainfall occurs, there is little room in the watershed remaining to store water and the level will begin climbing once more," the Control Board says.
The Duluth News Tribune reported Thursday a large influx of rain will send water spilling over the sandbag dikes that have been built by the National Guard and volunteers in recent weeks – flooding the homes, cabins and resorts hoping to stay dry. The additional rain keeps pushing this summer's wet records higher and higher.
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The town of Waterville spent Friday filling 40,000 sandbags in preparation for the weekend rain, KEYC reports. Rain hasn't fallen in the town of about 2,000 for 11 days now, KEYC reports. But the community – which sits between two lakes, Sakatah and Tetonka, with the Canon River running between – still has water flowing through its backyards.
On its Facebook page, the city said late Friday the water level is receding and forecast has been downgraded, lessening – but not eliminating – the danger. The Star Tribune reports the original expectations was 4-5 inches of rain, but closer to 1-2 inches are forecast now.
The water in Prior Lake hasn't yet stopped rising. WCCO reports sandbagging efforts were underway, with longtime residents telling the station the flooding is the worst it's been in decades. Prior Lake, KARE 11 notes, collects runoff from a watershed that takes up more than 40 acres, meaning – as one resident put it – an inch or two of rain will raise the lake 4-6 inches.
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In Cottage Grove, KSTP reports officials are concerned about Grey Cloud Island – there are about 15 homes on the island, and only two roads to the mainland. One is already closed, KSTP says, and more rain could close the other one, stranding the residents on the island. In Lakeville, Zak Stehlin caught this scene (at right) and posted it to Imgur, noting that no matter what happens, Minnesotans find a way to fish.
In the Twin Cities, raging water in the Mississippi River in St. Paul was moving at 114,000 cubic feet per second, which means it was churning faster than Niagara Falls, according to FOX 9. The Pioneer Press reported that the Mississippi was at 19.98 feet at 10 p.m. Thursday after apparently cresting at 20.13 feet, about 6 feet above flood stage. It’s the highest reading for the river since 2001.
Although more rain is expected over the weekend, city officials don’t expect the river go to much higher, but the water will not begin to recede for about a week. The 300,000 people expected to attend this weekend's Twin Cities Pride Festival in Minneapolis could get rained on as well.
The focus for thunderstorms will be shifting south Sunday and Monday, according to the NWS. On Monday a cold front is expected to move through, bringing cooler and less humid air Tuesday through Thursday. For July 4, the heat and humidity will return, along with better chances for thunderstorms, the weather service predicts.