Southeastern Minnesota residents were largely spared from flooding Wednesday, even as heavy rain fell late Tuesday and early Wednesday in areas where grounds remained saturated after flooding last week.
But neighbors across the Mississippi River in southwestern Wisconsin were nervously watching late Wednesday as rivers and creeks are expected to overflow from runoff. A flood warning remains in effect through Thursday evening from Ontario, Wis., to Steuben, where waters could rise along the Kickapoo River from 4 to 8 feet above the flood stage.
“The river basin was hit really hard,” said Jacob Beitlich, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. “Most of the rivers are just bank-full and spilling over into the lowlands.”
Flood warnings in half a dozen Minnesota counties had expired by Wednesday afternoon, but warnings continued for La Farge, Wis.
Over the past 24 hours, southern Minnesota and Wisconsin were deluged with water. Rain totals in Minnesota included 3 inches in Hastings, 3.75 inches in Albert Lea, 4.81 inches in Lake City and more than 5 inches just northeast of Rochester as of Wednesday evening, the Weather Service said. In Wisconsin’s Eau Claire County, rainfall reached up to 6 inches.
Interstate 90 near Austin reopened Wednesday morning after a short closure Tuesday night due to water over the road, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.
Floodwaters forced the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to close Hwy. 12 between Augusta and Fairchild, east of Eau Claire. The highway remained closed late Wednesday.
From Monday night into Tuesday, 6 inches of rain fell in the Readstown area of Vernon County in Wisconsin, where 10 people were evacuated. Coon Valley was also hit by heavy rains for the second time in a week. A mudslide blocked both lanes of Hwy. 35 near Genoa for more than hour. The creamery plant in the Village of Chaseburg was closed because of flooded roads, the Wisconsin Emergency Management Operations Center reported.
Later this week, dry and pleasant weather is expected to feature highs in the 70s.
Summer storms in June and July wreaked havoc on roads and bridges in southwest and northern Minnesota. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that 27 Minnesota counties and three tribes are eligible for federal disaster aid to help recoup the costs of repairing public infrastructure.
Liz Sawyer • 612-673-4648 Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768