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Expected heavy rain brings flood watch

The lakes area is in a line of Minnesota counties in a flash flood watch, which stretches north to the state's Arrowhead region.

The flash flood watch is in effect until 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, for Crow Wing, Aitkin, Morrison and Mille Lacs counties in the region.

"Heavy rain is expected across a large portion of the northland overnight," the National Weather Service reported. "A flash flood watch remains in effect for much of the Brainerd lakes area, east central Minnesota, far northwest Wisconsin, the Twin Ports and the Minnesota Arrowhead. Due to a slow-moving frontal boundary, we could see several inches of rainfall in and close to the watch area. Within the watch area, we may see flash flood warnings eventually issued as well. Heavy rain quickly ends Tuesday morning, but those traveling Tuesday morning may encounter flooded or washed out roads due to the heavy rainfall overnight."

From one season to another, the weather service reported some potential for below-freezing temperatures and areas of frost Wednesday night and Thursday night this week. So for those looking to get the last out of their vegetable gardens, the time is fading fast.

"In addition to the risk of flooding, some storms could be strong to severe (Oct. 2), resulting in gusty winds and hail," the weather service noted.

As of Monday night, the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport reported 1.29 inches of rain since Sept. 30. The recent rain is on top of an already wet year, which is likely to be among the top on record. At the end of September, the National Weather Service in Duluth reported 2017 was in sixth place among wettest years at that point with 30.73 inches for the year. First place is 35.75 inches from 1986. Since those numbers were before the recent deluges and overnight rains, after this next round of rain moves through, 2017 is likely to move closer to the top.

"A slow-moving frontal boundary will become the focus for numerous showers and thunderstorms (Monday night) and early Tuesday," the weather service reported. "Moisture will lift rapidly northward as the night wears on, resulting in the development of locally heavy rainfall across much of the area.

"Rainfall in the flash flood watch area is expected to be in the 2- to 4-inch range, with locally heavier amounts of up to 5 inches also possible. The heaviest rain will fall in a corridor from

Brainerd to Siren (Wis.), and northeast through Aitkin, the Twin Ports and the Minnesota Arrowhead."

For drivers, the overnight rain poses a particular risk as it can be hard to see flooded roads and streets with much advance warning after dark.

"If you will be driving across the region overnight, be aware that creeks, streams and rivers may rise quickly," the weather service reported. "Be ready to head to higher ground in the event we issue flash flood warnings, or if you encounter rising water. Turn around, don't drown is the main thing to emphasize, as you may be the first person to encounter a flooded road."

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