Campers and anyone near rivers or streams should seek higher ground as the potential for catastrophic flooding continues, the National Weather Service warned Monday night.
"Conditions are deteriorating rapidly," the weather service reported about 10 p.m. Monday night. A flash flood warning was issued for the lakes area.
The weather service asked for help in getting the word out in the Brainerd lakes area through east central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin to warn residents, particularly to anyone in campgrounds, resorts or staying or living near rivers and streams.
"We are expecting potentially catastrophic flooding," the weather service reported. "The Mississippi River at Aitkin is expected to see a huge surge in water overnight."
The Mississippi River was expected to reach 17.9 feet by 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 12.
"At 18 feet, water will inundate the Aitkin sewage plant," the weather service reported, asking people to share a Facebook post warning of the flood dangers.
"We don't ask this often, but please, share this post and communicate with anyone living in those areas. Much more rain is on the way, and we have seen 6 to 8 inches of rain in spots in these areas. This is potentially a many decade flood."
The weather service reported "excessive rainfall has occurred over the Mississippi River Basin during the past week, including considerable rainfall in the past 48 and 24 hours. This additional rainfall over already saturated soils will quickly runoff into streams and tributaries. A rapid water level rise overnight and Tuesday is expected on the Mississippi River at Aitkin. If inundated the sewage plant will be inoperable. The river is forecast to reach flood stage before 7 a.m. Tuesday and to nearly 18 feet by 7 p.m. Tuesday evening." At 9:30 p.m. Monday, the river at Aitkin was at 10.1 feet. Flood stage is 13 feet. The river is currently forecast to fall below flood stage by Sunday morning. Crow Wing County law enforcement is advising no travel until at least daybreak Tuesday. The flash flood warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Tuesday. The weather service reported widespread flooding in southern Cass and Crow Wing counties with water over state highways and county roads with some rural roads washed out. "Between 6 and 10 inches of rain has fallen across the (flood) warned area today and this will result in continued flooding for the remainder" of the night, the weather service reported. Locations that may experience flooding include Brainerd, Mille Lacs Lake, Baxter, Crosby, Breezy Point, Pequot Lakes, Crosslake, Nisswa, Pine River, Emily, Ironton, Deerwood, Pillager, Fifty Lakes, Cuyuna, Garrison, Poplar, Fort Ripley, Merrifield and South Long Lake.