Minneapolis, Minnesota

Historical Floods

Minnesota is no stranger to floods caused by heavy precipitation. The town experienced rainfalls of these high magnitudes with a large geographical extent able of becoming catastrophic.

Since statehood, there have been several mega-rain events that have happened in Minnesota. The mega-rains have brought floods with six inches of water, which covered over 1.000 square miles of land. Research from historical climate records, diaries, and newspaper accounts have been shown to be very valuable in identifying the upcoming floods.

However, it wasn’t always like that before the aspirations and foresight of the State Climatologist Earl Kuehnast and Dr. Don Baker in the 1970s. Their desire to examine the flash floods caused by heavy rainfalls affected an explosion of rainfall observers. Since then, the state of Minnesota has definitely avoided some significant destruction caused by water damage and floods.

Although their system has undergone some changes through time, it has remained intact for the core goal of identifying mega-rainfall events.

Spring Flooding of 1965

The floods were caused by snowmelt. In the spring of 1965, the weather was cold and snowy but was followed by warm weather and widespread rainfall. Notably, the month of March was not only the snowiest March on record but also recorded an astounding 51.7 inches of snow levels. However, these levels had dropped to 27 inches by April, and in two weeks, there was little snow. Over 2 inches of rainfall was recorded over this period. This, in return, caused massive flooding along Rivers, St Croix, Minnesota, and Mississippi.

Flooding of 1909

July 22-22, 1909: On this day, the flash floods were experienced in Northwest Minnesota into the UP of Michigan. 10.75 inches was the highest one day total recorded at Beaulieu in Mahnomen County. The storm claimed two victims who were children swept away by the torrential floods.

The Twin Cities Superstorm, 1987

On July 23, 1987, a massive rainfall event started to drop in the twin cities. It took place for 6 hours and listed 10 inches of rainwater above the ground at twin cities international airports while causing flooding in a number of twin cities areas, especially in southern and western parts. The storm formed between 23th and July 24 through the late 23rd day, and it continued to prevail in over various areas in southern Minnesota. The upper-level stream also supplied a chilly air loft that caused the storm cell's instability in the northwest of twin cities. The storm paten extends towards the southern parts of the twin towns, and the rain continued for another eighth hour while successive thunderstorm cell has been formed across the front of the twin cities. The floods began on 23rd evening across the twin cities. Most vehicles were stranded on major streets, and most of them became stuck as drivers left their cars to search for safety in many high points. This occurred at first in interstate 494 in the south metro. The water level was reported to be around 8 feet, and many cars had submerged in water. This was followed by the closure of 1-494 for three days. The majority of the inhabitants were displaced while most homes were completely damaged. I railroad in Bloomington was totally washed out. This was another financial setback because the railroad served as a dependable means in the region. The floods caused more death with plenty of property destruction, bringing the total loss estimation to a surplus of $30 million.

The Great Flash Flood of 1867

Notably, this is the most extraordinary rain event ever recorded in the Twin Cities. The warm season rainfalls occurred in mid-July of 1867 across the western portion of central Minnesota. On the night of July 17th, 1867, a torrential downpour measuring 30 inches of rain was recorded. The event listed the following damages, four deaths, bridges were washed away, with an estimated 25-40 million logs swept away.

The Flood of 2007

August 18-20, 2007: In the footsteps of the 1867 storm, these Southern Minnesota flash floods produced 15.10 inches, making it the greatest recorded total in 24 hours.