Heavy June rain sends Minnesota River back over its banks

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Flood warnings posted for areas that can expect flooding the next few days as the river rises several feet above flood stage in spots...

Heavy rain over the last couple of weeks has left the Minnesota River, and many of its tributaries running very high. But the one-two punch of up to six inches of rain in the southern tier of the state is now pushing the waterway out of its banks, and will likely crest higher than it did in the spring.

Much of the state as well as the Upper Midwest have seen a tremendous amount of rain this month. Some spots in northern Wisconsin and southwest Minnesota have seen more than a foot of rain, three times what is typical for the month of June. But the metro and St. Cloud have largely missed out on the high water, with some exception of Dakota and Scott counties. In fact, MSP Airport is still below average for rain on the month, getting all of 2.5 inches so far. Meanwhile, areas just 40 or 50 miles further southwest have totals approaching 10 inches. Many areas of Hennepin, Ramsey, and Anoka counties are running sub average as well… along with several other countries just to the north.

So why the big disparity? Well, you’re not gonna like the answer, but it’s sheer dumb luck. The overall weather pattern over the last couple of weeks has been very busy, but conditions have just worked out where some of the same areas kept getting hit over and over again. There’s no reason for this, it’s just luck of the draw.

This surge in water has sent the Minnesota River soaring now, back above flood stage from the Cottonwood connection all the way to the Mississippi. Many areas are still expected to rise another three to six feet before cresting sometime this upcoming week or weekend, and current forecast crests are actually higher than what we saw in the spring. Moderate flood stage could be reached from Mankato to the south metro, which will likely close some roads, bridges, and trails.  And with the current forecast showing more potential local heavy rains through early week, river levels may still get higher than the current forecast.