Minnesota Flash Floods: 2008
June 7-9, 2008: Southeast Minnesota
The flash flooding came early in the summer season over southeast Minnesota with two events in June 2008. The first was on June 7-9, 2008. Some of the hardest hit areas in Minnesota were Fillmore and Houston Counties. Ground that was already saturated from heavy rains the week before only compounded the problem. Houston County's Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency on June 9. In Fillmore County, waters from the swollen Root River flooded Preston, and affected from 50 to 75 homes and twelve businesses in the downtown area. The highest two-day total in Minnesota was 10.61 inches about six miles southeast of Caledonia in Houston County. t one point all the roads were closed in Houston County. Some areas hit by this flood fell over the same areas as the historic August 18-20, 2007 flood.
June 11-12, 2008: Southeast Minnesota
More heavy rains fell just a few days later on June 11-12, 2008. The rains were the heaviest over Ortonville in Big Stone County and especially over south eastern Minnesota in the Austin area. The highest 24-hour total ending on the morning of June 12 was 4.25 inches at Lansing in Mower County about five miles north of Austin. Two day totals were between five and six inches over eastern Freeborn and western Mower County.
The heavy rains fell over already saturated ground in southeast Minnesota. By shortly after dark on June 11th, manhole covers were forced up due to the water pressure. Water was over many roads and cars were submerged in Austin. By the wee hours of the morning on June 12, Interstate 90 was closed in Austin due to floodwaters covering the interstate. Later that same day, residents of Austin were sandbagging to protect parts of the town due to rising creeks. One man died early on June 12th when he drove into deep water in a washed out spot on County Road 34 in Freeborn County. One person had to be rescued from a second car that plunged into the water.
July 16-17, 2008: Southeast Minnesota
There was one flood event of note for July 2008. July 16-17, 2008. A small, but intense area of thunderstorms produced torrential downpours over extreme southeastern Minnesota in Winona and Houston County. The La Crosse National Weather Service saw its greatest one day precipitation total for July 16th with 2.50 inches. The highest total found was 5.21 inches at La Crescent in Houston County. Just one mile NNW of La Crecent the rainfall total was 3.92 inches. Many streets were flooded in La Crescent and the intersection of Main and Elm Street was under two feet of water. Mudslides were reported along I-94 near Dresbach in far southeastern Winona County.
August 11-12, 2008: West Central Minnesota
A line of heavy thunderstorms hit a few areas of west central Minnesota on August 11-12, 2008. The heaviest rain fell in Wilkin, eastern Clay, and western Becker Counties. Street flooding was reported in Wahpeton, North Dakota, just across the border from Breckenridge. 2.75 inches fell in two hours at Wahpeton. Fargo received 3.45 inches for a storm total. Some of the higher rainfall totals found in Minnesota were 4.30 inches in Breckenridge. 2.79 inches at Sabin, 2.70 inches fell at Wheaton and 2.39 inches fell at Detroit Lakes. The heaviest 24 hour total reported was 4.70 inches at the town of Barnesville in southern Clay County.