Intense rain floods streets, closes interstate in Minnesota

September 5, 2018
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As recurring bands of rain showers continue to saturate the upper midwestern United States, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison takes cover under an umbrella while making her way past a rain-spattered window on the campus in Madison, Wis. Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Heavy rain flooded streets and highways in southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin, closing schools and challenging motorists to find new routes.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation closed U.S. Highway 12 in both directions southeast of Eau Claire early Wednesday. The intense rain also temporarily closed a section of Interstate 90 in southeast Minnesota overnight Tuesday.

The National Weather Service said the heaviest rain fell from Austin to Rochester, Minnesota, where there are reports of more than 5 inches. Fourteen Wisconsin counties were under flood warnings Tuesday night.

Reedsburg, Richland and Weston schools closed Wednesday in Wisconsin because buses couldn’t make it through the high water. The Montello School District canceled classes for the rest of the week because a major road through the community is impassable.

The stormy weather that began several weeks ago has left some communities swamped.

In Wisconsin’s Dane County, emergency managers said Wednesday the historic rain and subsequent flooding has caused more than $155 million in damage to more than 1,500 homes, businesses and public infrastructure. The initial damage estimate made on Aug. 24 was $108 million.

In Minnesota, flood warnings were in effect for Freeborn, Faribault, Goodhue, Rice, Steele and Waseca counties Wednesday while a flood watch covered the rest of the southeastern region.

The unrelenting rain came after 19 tornadoes hit central Wisconsin Aug. 28. The weather service most recently confirmed an EF-1 twister near Eden in Fond du Lac County and an EF-0 tornado near Cascade in Sheboygan County.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org