Heavy rain swamps portions of several Midwestern states
Minneapolis — It’s a soggy start to fall for several Midwestern states, where heavy rain has flooded homes, closed major highways, stranded motorists and derailed a train.
In Minnesota, record-setting rainfall caused the Department of Transportation to fire up its snowplows to move standing water off major thoroughfares. As much as 8 to 10 inches of rain inundated the Twin Cities area Wednesday night, and more was forecast Thursday.
Vehicles floated through intersections in several Twin Cities suburbs, including Maple Grove and Brooklyn Park. In downtown Minneapolis, the Minnesota Twins’ game was delayed Wednesday night due to rain and rescheduled for 1:10 p.m. Thursday as the first game in a split doubleheader.
About 75 miles south, several homes were evacuated in Waseca, which saw nearly 14 inches of rain over two days, according to the National Weather Service. Classes were canceled Thursday in Waseca and several other school districts because of flooded roads.
In western Wisconsin, a portion of Highway 35 was closed because of mudslides, which washed out train tracks, authorities said.
Two BNSF Railway locomotives and five cars derailed early Thursday morning in Crawford County, officials said in a news release. The crew wasn’t injured, but one of the fuel tanks ruptured, spilling about 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel — some into the Mississippi River, the railroad said.
BNSF crews planned to get on the river as soon as high water levels would permit and place a boom downstream to capture the fuel. Wisconsin emergency officials said 15 people who lived nearby were evacuated as a precaution.
About two hours north, more than 60 roads were closed because of flooding in Clark County, where officials advised against travel. Neillsville, Granton, Greenwood and Loyal schools canceled classes, while others delayed the start of classes.
In Iowa, several northeastern counties saw flash flooding, with more rain expected Thursday, as well as the possibility of hail and strong winds. Streets in Hawkeye and a nearby state highway were flooded.
Heavy rain runoff and flooding from the Shell Rock River forced the evacuation a few homes in Greene County in northern Iowa, as well as rescues at five homes.
At least three tornadoes were reported Wednesday evening in parts of southern Floyd County and northern Butler County, but no serious damage, according to the National Weather Service.