Storms batter waterlogged Minnesota; more rain on the way

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A line of severe storms marched across southern Minnesota Monday night – perhaps a preview of more stormy weather to come this week – bringing heavy rains, hail and winds up to 60 mph to areas that were already waterlogged.

The storms also knocked out power to about 20,000 Xcel Energy customers overnight, as rain and winds battered the Twin Cities, Xcel reported via Twitter. Other areas included in the power outages: Mankato, Red Wing and Winona, Xcel said.

Across the state, homeowners are sandbagging to fight back rain-swollen creeks and lakes, resorts in northern Minnesota are in jeopardy, and roads and farm fields are flooded in the south, the Star Tribune reports.

And forecasters have bad news: More storms are on the way in the next few days. Much of the southern third of the state, including the Twin Cities, can expect storms Tuesday afternoon and evening, with the possibility of damaging winds, hail and tornadoes.

“I wish I could tell you the worst is over, but that’s just not the case here,” Dan Luna, chief meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, told the Star Tribune.

Southwestern Minnesota, which is already seeing flooding from heavy rains over the weekend, was hit again Monday. Three inches or more fell in that area Monday evening, according to MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner. The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls issued a flood warning Monday for 25 counties, which Huttner said he had never seen before.

A 15-mile stretch of Interstate 90 in far southwestern Minnesota was closed Wednesday morning, KELO TV reports:

Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday had a conference call with leaders in the southwestern Minnesota, which he plans to visit in the next few days. FOX 9 has images of flooding in Luverne, which got 4 inches of rain.

Meanwhile, Dayton on Tuesday plans to survey flood damage in International Falls on the Canadian border, where weary residents have stacked more than 70,000 sandbags – with 70,000 more on the way – to protect homes, businesses and water treatment infrastructure. International Falls had had 7.7 inches of rain this month through Monday night, almost 6 inches above normal, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Koochiching County Sheriff Brian Jesperson in far northern Minnesota said forecasters are warning that water levels could rise up to a foot higher, the News Tribune reports. The Rainy River is at its highest level ever, and Rainy Lake is at record levels.

Because of the already saturated soil conditions from the recent rainy weather, much of this week’s rainfall is expected to run off into already swollen river basins.

River flooding is expected along the Crow River, Redwood River and Sauk River, while flooding is possible along the Mississippi River and Minnesota River. Urban areas and small streams could also see flooding, the National Weather Service says.

Officials with the state Homeland Security and Emergency Management on Monday activated an emergency operations center to keep tabs on what assistance local officials need.

The Twin Cities have received 5.73 inches of rain so far this June. If the metro gets 2 more inches of rain this month, it’ll crack the top 10 for wettest Junes on record, WCCO notes. The wettest June on record is 11.67 inches in 1874, the news station says.

Much of the Midwest was hit by storms Monday. These rare twin tornadoes were captured on video earlier Monday night by storm chasers in Nebraska.

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One of the twisters did major damage to the town of Pilger, Nebraska, the Argus Leader reports. Local officials said one person is dead and many others are injured.

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