Thunderstorms result in travel advisory for Highway 371
Heavy rains Thursday morning prompted Minnesota Department of Transportation officials to issue a travel advisory after water flooded two intersections on Highway 371 in Nisswa and Pequot Lakes.
Tony Hughes, Baxter District 3 resident construction engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), said Thursday MnDOT gauges at the Nisswa site showed 5 inches of rain with additional reports of anywhere between 4 to 6 inches. He said the water receded by mid-day and traffic was proceeding normally by afternoon. Erosion resulted from the rainfall, but he said there were no other serious setbacks that might have delayed the project.
The two segments which were reported to be underwater Thursday morning as the result of thunderstorms were:
• Highway 371, south of Clark Lake Road, within the work zone for the Highway 371 Nisswa reconstruction project.
• Highway 371 at County Road 11 in Pequot Lakes.
MnDOT officials said segments of the road remained passable but motorists were advised to slow down, proceed with caution and obey flaggers and workers directing traffic.
More information on the Highway 371 reconstruction project near Nisswa may be found at www.dot.state.mn.us/d3/hwy371nisswa/index.html.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Duluth reported the thunderstorms had mostly ended across Crow Wing and southern Cass counties by 11:35 a.m. Thursday. Radar rainfall estimates of between 3 to 6 inches of rain were common in areas between Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point, since 5 a.m. The NWS said it received a report of 4.68 inches of rain, three miles northeast of Nisswa. The heaviest rainfall was reported in the Mission Creek drainage basin around Breezy Point, the NWS said, and that area was expected to see the highest water and runoff effects. Similar high water and runoff was expected to be seen in downstream areas along Mission Creek as it flows toward the Mississippi River.
The rainfall at the Brainerd airport was 1.85 inches as of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Mark Mortensen, Department of Natural Resources program forester. A report of nearly 2 inches of rain was received from north Brainerd.
Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman J.P. Gillach said Thursday motorists experienced delays in their morning commute with traffic slowing down to about 5 miles per hour at the two locations. He said the Minnesota State Patrol was monitoring both sites.
The NWS said there was the risk of severe storms on the night of Thursday, June 20, and Friday morning especially from the Brainerd lakes area to the St. Croix Valley. Large hail and damaging winds were possible along with heavy rainfall and local flash flooding. Several periods of thunderstorms were expected from Friday night into early next week as warm, moist and unstable air remains over the northland, the NWS reported. An initial round of locally heavy rain and storms appeared likely Friday night into Saturday across the entire area, according to the NWS.