As flood cleanup continues in parts of Minnesota, some rivers are still rising

Published 5:06 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

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By MPR Staff

Cleanup from major flooding continued Friday in parts of Minnesota, while rivers were still rising in other areas of the state.

Heavy rain early Friday was an unwelcome sight — and there was the potential for more showers and storms across Minnesota later in the day. But as of Friday morning, forecasters said they didn’t think it would have a major effect on rivers.

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“There is that ongoing flood potential, but with rivers starting to recover a little bit from the earlier rainfall, we’re not expecting too much of an impact for rivers to increase once again,” said Ryan Dunleavy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities. “That would take another significant rainfall like we saw just a few days ago.”

In Blue Earth County, officials continued to monitor the Rapidan Dam southwest of Mankato. The rain-swollen Blue Earth River carved a path around the dam earlier in the week, destroying a home and an electrical substation — and endangering the nearby Rapidan Dam Store and a county highway bridge.

As of Friday morning, county officials said the store remained standing. They said the dam and the bridge both appeared to be stable — though the volume of water continued to hinder efforts to mitigate the erosion.

County officials also said they’re starting to work on longer-term barriers and security for the site.

Elsewhere in southern Minnesota, the flood fight and cleanup continued in Waterville, Windom, Jackson and other communities that saw creeks, rivers and lakes spill over their banks after torrential rain in the past week.

Some highways remained closed, including U.S. Highway 169 between St. Peter and Le Sueur, U.S. Highway 71 in Jackson and State Highway 60 between Worthington and Windom. Many bridges across the Minnesota River also remained closed on Friday.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation on Thursday reopened U.S. Highway 169 between Mankato and St. Peter, as water levels dropped along the Minnesota River.

Downstream, the Minnesota River was still rising Friday closer to the Twin Cities. The Mississippi River also was on the rise at St. Paul and Hastings.

At St. Paul, the river has flooded Harriet Island Park and a stretch of Shepard and Warner roads near downtown. It’s forecast to crest at 20.8 feet over the weekend, which would be the seventh-highest crest on record.

In Cottage Grove, the rising water level along the Mississippi prompted city officials to close a bridge and causeway that provide access to Lower Grey Cloud Island.

City officials said they’ve gone door-to-door to talk with residents on the island about the closures. They’ve also provided sandbags to the owners of some properties that might be affected by flooding.