Storms Rip Through Minnesota, Wisconsin
Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Thunderstorms hit southeastern Minnesota late Wednesday afternoon, producing strong winds, lightning and brief periods of heavy rain, more than an inch an hour in some areas.
The National Weather Service issued storm and tornado warnings for parts of Dodge and Olmsted counties.The outdoor warning sirens were sounded in Rochester as the storm passed through.
So far, there are no reports of tornado touchdowns and it appears the damage involving trees and buildings was caused by strong winds which were clocked at 60 - 65 mph. Roof damage was reported at a turkey farm near Claremont in Dodge County. Street flooding and downed trees were reported in Rochester.
Rainfall totals in the Rochester area were generally in the 1-2 inch range with about an inch and a half at St Marys Hospital and 1.25 inches at the airport.
The highest totals reported to the National Weather Service came from area along and near the Mississippi River. Between 5 - 6 inches fell in the Wabasha/Kellogg area and 4 - 5 inch totals were reported in Winona County and across the river in La Crosse. More than 6 inches fell east of Winona in Wisconsin’s Trempealeau County, where several hundred people had to evacuate their homes early Thursday in the town of Arcadia due to flooding. The town's mayor says the downtown area was also flooded.
The heavy rain flooded numerous roads in other areas in southwest Wisconsin and led to rises in area rivers and streams, including Whitewater State Park in southeast Minnesota. It also caused a mudslide that was reported early Thursday in Winona County. The report said the mudslide had covered the southbound lanes of Highway 61 near the town of Pickwick.
There is a threat of another round of heavy rain in the region tomorrow and tomorrow night.