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Flash floods could be 'dangerous and life-threatening': Motorists urged to stay off roads in Brainerd lakes area

The National Weather Service in Duluth issued a flash flood warning until 10:45 p.m. Monday for southwestern Cass and Crow Wing counties. The warning came in response to heavy rainfall that began about 3 a.m. Monday morning and remained relativel...

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A portion of Industrial Park Road near Quality Enterprises in Baxter was closed Tuesday morning following heavy rains over the previous 24 hours. (Brainerd Dispatch/Spenser Bickett)

The National Weather Service in Duluth issued a flash flood warning until 10:45 p.m. Monday for southwestern Cass and Crow Wing counties.

The warning came in response to heavy rainfall that began about 3 a.m. Monday morning and remained relatively steady throughout the day.

"This could get into a very dangerous and life-threatening situation," said Dan Miller, science and operations officer at NWS in Duluth. "Flash floods at night are exceptionally dangerous because visibility is not very good."

Miller urged motorists to remain off the roads, noting it is never safe to drive into areas flooded by water.

"It's difficult to see where you're going anyway and you don't even know if there's a road still there under the surface of the water," Miller said. "It could have been washed away."

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Miller said in the Brainerd lakes area, there are many visitors who may be unfamiliar with the area and are particularly at risk if camping near water or in areas with only one or two access points. He said people should seek safety as soon as possible.

Miller said the rainfall, which was ranging from 5 to 8 inches across the Northland by about 8 p.m. Monday night, was reminiscent of the flash flooding event in Duluth four years ago. Total rainfall in that event was 7.24 inches over a two-day stretch. At the current rate, rainfall totals Monday into today are likely to meet or exceed that total and in some cases already have.

Water floods a Crosby park Monday evening in the midst of heavy rainfall in northern Minnesota. The rain was expected to continue throughout the night, creating dangerous and potentially life-threatening flash flood situations, the National Weather Service in Duluth reported. Photo posted on Facebook.
Water floods a Crosby park Monday evening in the midst of heavy rainfall in northern Minnesota. The rain was expected to continue throughout the night, creating dangerous and potentially life-threatening flash flood situations, the National Weather Service in Duluth reported. Photo posted on Facebook.

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