A series of strong thunderstorms rolled out of eastern South Dakota into west central Minnesota late Wednesday, dropping anywhere from 2 inches to 8 inches of rain overnight. The unneeded and unwanted rains continued throughout the day Thursday.


A series of strong thunderstorms rolled out of eastern South Dakota into west central Minnesota late Wednesday, dropping anywhere from 2 inches to 8 inches of rain overnight. The unneeded and unwanted rains continued throughout the day Thursday.

The official weather reporting station at KDMA radio in Montevideo reported 1.93 inches of rain had fallen overnight. By 7 a.m. Friday, another .8 inch had fallen.

A flash flood watch was issued for the southern two-thirds of Minnesota Thursday morning, and a flash flood warning was issued later in the day for portions of three counties along the Minnesota River from Redwood Falls southeast.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty declared a state of emergency Thursday in portions of southern Minnesota. A one-day special legislative session has been called for the first part of October, probably between Oct. 7 and Oct. 12, to pass a flood relief bill.

Rainfall this growing season has been well above historical averages, and river levels in the region are unusually high for this time of year, according to the National Weather Service. Rivers are running at levels 90 percent higher than normal.

In Montevideo, city officials decided Wednesday to close Lagoon Park at noon Thursday. Chief of police Adam Christopher informed a couple of campers of the decision Wednesday afternoon.

City manager Steve Jones said Thursday that “except for keeping an eye on things, there’s not much to do.” He noted that the city was adopting a “wait and see” approach, and that officials did not anticipate any serious flooding such as occurred in the spring.

“There’s been enough changes made in the last 10 years that while there may be some inconveniences, we don’t expect any major problems with roads or parks flooding,” said Jones.

The Minnesota River level at Montevideo was 11 feet Thursday morning. The river level put it between the action and minor flood stage, according to the National Weather Service River Forecast Office. The National Weather Service initially projected the river would crest at 12.3 feet, but the actual crest was 11.65 feet Friday night. Flood stage at Montevideo is 14 feet.

Mn/DOT closed numerous highways in southern Minnesota Thursday and Friday. The detour on U.S. Highway 59 south of Clarkfield was changed twice because of flooding along two Yellow Medicine County roads. All the roads were reopened by Saturday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be assessing damage across southern Minnesota this week, a prerequisite for a presidential disaster declaration.