Friday, October 31, 2014
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Heavy rains flood streets, knock out power

Tuesday night's rain storm in the Twin Cities Metro area was a record breaker. Forecasters say the system dumped 4.6 inches of rain in 24 hours at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The data is still being tabulated, but some weather officials say close to nine inches of rain fell some parts of the metro.

St. Paul, Minn. — Flooding and mud slides closed several major roads in the Twin Cities metro area, but most of the roads were reopened by the afternoon commute on Wednesday.

MNDOT spokesman, Kent Barnard says the October rain was unusual and caused flooding on many metro area roads.

"Basically what happens in a metropolitan area is you don't have as many surfaces for the rainwater to get into the ground so you have to rely on curb and gutter and storm sewers and ditches and rainwater holding ponds. If you get too much rain in a short period of time, it overwhelms the system and the rain has no place to go and starts backing up," he said.

Officers in the Twin Cities suburb of Lakeville spent Tuesday night helping residents pump water out of their basments and clearing storm sewers. They also helped rescue motorists stranded in flooded cars.

Lakeville Police Chief Steve Strachan says the flooding was bad in some low-lying areas.

"This morning I came in and the officers said they spent the night in waist-deep water," he said.

Strachan says eight families were evacuated from their homes around midnight. They took refuge in a nearby pizza restaurant.

"The staff at that restaurant stayed up all night and let the people go into that restaurant. They fed them all night and never charged them a thing. Then everybody went home in the morning when the waters began to recede. But the restaurant stayed open all night for them," according to Strachan.

Department of Natural Resources climatologist Greg Spoden says he's still gathering data on the rainfall. He says he wouldn't be surprised to find eight to 10 inches of rain fell in some locations like Rush City and Pine City.

"So this will go down in the record books as perhaps the most significant October rain on record in terms of its spatial extent and its intensity," he said.

Spoden says besides the rain, Minnesota broke another weather record this week.

"In the Twin Cities over the last four days we've set all new dewpoint temperature records. Sunday through this (Wednesday) morning we've had dewpoints in the upper 60s, which is very rare," he said.

Of course, this is Minnesota, so the summer-like weather is due to change soon. Forecasters say a winter storm with heavy, wet snow in North Dakota could move into parts of Minnesota. If that's the case, MNDOT's Kent Barnard says crews are ready even before the first flake flies.

"Our plows are ready to go 12 months out of the year. All we have to do is get the plows on them and load up the salt and we're ready to hit the road," he said.

Climatologist Greg Spoden says 10 to 14 inches of snow has fallen in western North Dakota. He says northwestern Minnesota could get a dusting of snow.

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