Heavy rains this week could push rivers near flood stage

Published 10:57 am Monday, June 20, 2011

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Several inches of rain forecast this week could bring rising water levels on the Mississippi, Minnesota and Red rivers in Minnesota.

“The problem this year is that we can’t seem to get a break to let the waters get out of the channels. … Every time that it starts to settle down, it’s like ‘Whoosh!’ back up again,” said Ross Carlyon, a meteorological technician for the Chanhassen office of the National Weather Service.

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The Twin Cities escaped severe river flooding predicted earlier in the year, but recent storms have extended the high water levels.

According to the National Weather Service, more than 3 inches of rain is predicted through Friday for central Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and parts of the Dakotas. About 2 inches of rain is expected in the metro area.

The Red River at Fargo has already reached flood stage. The Minnesota River at Savage, Jordan and Henderson is well into action stage, a step below flood stage, and is predicted to approach flood stage later in the week.

In 1993, torrential rains that began in May caused 57 counties to be declared disaster areas.

“If more rainfall follows up the coming system, there’s potential for the area to be in the same situation,” said forecaster Jim Richardson.

During the weekend, heavy rainfall caused street flooding in Eau Claire, Wis., and a mudslide on nearby Interstate 94.