Heavy rain, destructive floods hit Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota


Heavy storms that moved over the Upper Midwest over the weekend dropped record-breaking rain on parts of the region and caused destructive flash flooding.

Up to 178 mm (7 inches) of rain fell across northern Houghton County in Michigan's Upper Peninsula on Sunday morning, June 17, 2017, causing 'historic' flood damage.

The worst affected areas include the towns of Houghton, Lake Linden, Dodgeville and Hancock, where over 60 sinkholes and washouts were reported. Several roads in the Houghton and Hancock areas were washed away.

According to Michigan State Police, state officials initiated emergency operations in response to flash flooding and extreme weather in Houghton and Menominee counties.

65.27 mm (2.57 inches) of rain was recorded in Marquette, the most populous county in the Upper Peninsula, on June 17, breaking the previous daily rainfall record of 21.84 mm (0.86 inches) from 1978. The amount also set the second highest daily rainfall total for the month of June.

A part of Highway 23 in northeastern Minnesota was washed away, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.

In northwestern Wisconsin, officials told residents travel was not advised in Bayfield County on Sunday morning as a stretch of US Highway 2, a major thoroughfare in that part of the state, was completely lost. Portions of US Highways 53 and 63 were also closed due to washouts and flooding.

A cold front is forecast to make its way into the Northeast U.S. on Monday and Monday night, and continue into the northern Mid-Atlantic on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said Monday, June 18.

Along and ahead of this front, thunderstorms are expected for the Northeast, and there are slight risks of both severe weather and flash flooding for that region on Monday and Monday night.

As the front progresses southward, storms will spread into the Mid-Atlantic on Tuesday.

Farther west, the front is stalled, and thus will continue to linger across the Ohio Valley, Middle Mississippi Valley, and Central Plains. Multiple rounds of rain and thunderstorms are expected for these areas along and north of the front.

A moderate risk of excessive rainfall/flash flooding is in effect for the Central Plains on Tuesday as a low pressure system along the front begins to strengthen.

Storms elsewhere in those regions could also contain flash flooding and be strong to severe on Monday and Tuesday.

Even farther west, the Northern Rockies and Northern High Plains are expecting rain and thunderstorms on Monday and Tuesday with an upper-level low in the area. This rain of an inch or two could lead to flooding there, and cooler than average temperatures are forecast.

Featured image credit: Minnesota Department of Transportation

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