Area roads safe despite heavy rainfall
WILLMAR –– Heavy storms last night that dumped as much as eight inches of rain on already saturated fields, roads and basements is causing more problems in west central Minnesota communities.
There are reports of standing water on roads in several counties, including Yellow Medicine, Chippewa and Renville counties, with at least one road washed out northeast of Granite Falls.
The West Central Research and Outreach Center reports that Stevens County received .56 inches of rain overnight. Since Saturday, June 14, about 2.75 inches has fallen in the area.
Stevens County Engineer Brian Giese said the county is fortunate compared to other areas of the state.
Currently, Stevens County only has three sections of low volume gravel roads where the water has encroached upon the road surface and no county highways are closed, Giese said.
“We continue to monitor conditions and we have placed warning devices in those areas where water is on the road surface,” Giese said. “Still, roadway conditions can vary greatly and any additional rainfall may create new or worsen conditions. Drivers should be cautious in areas where high water is seen along roadways.”
More rain is in the forecast for today, which has prompted the National Weather Service in Chanhassen to issue flood and flash flood warnings for much of the region.
The forecast calls for as much as 1 to 2 more inches of rain to fall tonight on areas that received 6 to 7 inches of rain in the past 24 hours, pushing river levels even higher.
The localized forecast for Morris says there is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 4 p.m.
West central Minnesota is also in an advisory for wind, as gusty east winds are expected to reach 40 mph. With the saturated ground conditions, trees could be pushed over much more easily. Those venturing outside are urged to be very careful.
Staff at the West Central Tribune in Willmar contributed to this story.