When it rains, it pours: Unofficial reports shows up to 10 inches in Aitkin County
Aitkin County was hit hard by rain during an early morning storm Thursday, July 12, raising concerns for flooding in the area.
Rainfall of up to 10 inches was unofficially reported in some areas of Aitkin County. One report indicated a 7.5-inch rain gauge filled to the top with rain still falling. Others reported rain gauges tipping over because there was more water falling than they could hold.
The rain totals were reported to the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office and the National Weather Service in Duluth. Aitkin County is in a flash flood warning. As of 10:30 a.m. Thursday, the Mississippi River was at 11.26 feet and it's expected to reach 14 feet about 7 a.m. Sunday. The river may reach 13 feet by about midnight Thursday, according to the NWS.
Aitkin County Sheriff Scott Turner toured the county to assess rain and flood damage.
"The southern end of the county got hit the hardest," Turner said. "All of Aitkin County got pretty heavy rain last night. The reports I received from talking to people I know, the rainfall ranged from 2.3 inches to about 10 inches, down in the Mille Lacs area.
"The heaviest flooding I saw was southeast of McGrath, where the Snake River crosses. ... The ditches are full, the roads are impacted and we have some erosion on several gravel roads."
Water covered roads from Hill City to McGrath and portions of Highway 18; Aitkin County Road 2, east of Malmo; and Aitkin County Road 61, a gravel road with several areas under water.
"We ask people to turn around, don't drown, which is the national buzz for flooded roads," Turner said. "We have roads that have deep water and others with water on them. We ask motorists to please be careful as conditions are changing. When we have heavy rains, especially at night, it is not a good time to be on the roads.
"Our systems are full so our ability to handle rain is somewhat diminished."
The NWS reported an elderly care facility in Aitkin had water flowing into the first floor. The weather service's Doppler radar indicated as much as 4-6 inches of rain fell across southern Aitkin County. Some locations that may experience flooding include Crosby, Aitkin, Deerwood, McGregor, Malmo, Cuyuna and Garrison. Quarter-inch size hail was reported in Pequot Lakes.
Outside of Aitkin County, a tree was knocked down on Cass County Road 25, west of Pine River, blocking the road; and a gravel road was washed out on 32nd Street Southwest in Pine River.
How much rain is adding up this summer in Brainerd?
Bryan Howell, meteorologist intern with the weather service in Duluth, said the normal precipitation for the summer is 4.3 inches in June, 4.59 in July and 2.77 in August—a total of 11.66 inches of rainfall.
Last summer there was 4.02 inches in June, 2.64 inches in July and 7.66 inches in August—totaling 14.32 inches, or 2.66 inches above normal.
So far this summer, Brainerd has experienced 4.07 inches in June and 3.67 inches as of July 12, for a total of 7.74 inches. Brainerd will need to see close to 4 more inches of rain to have a normal summer in terms of rainfall.
"Looking ahead here, it looks like we will start to trend below normal for precipitation for the rest of the month," Howell said. "So hopefully we can start to dry out here.
"The outlook of temperatures is we are starting to see near to below normal temps, so maybe we can get that humidity cleared out, too. It has been warm, but with that humidity being so high, that is what has been the most significant impact. It feels so hot and sticky and we don't want to be outside. That is caused by the high dew points. We have seen dew points in the 60s and are even seeing them close to 70. These are the readings you see down in the Gulf of Mexico. ... That is how it feels here, you go outside and you are wet."
The next chance of rain is Saturday night, with a 30 percent chance of rain in Brainerd and Aitkin.
• 1.56 inches, Brainerd.
• 2.13 inches, 3 miles northeast of Nisswa.
• 5 inches and rain gauge was tipped and overflowing, Aitkin.
• 4.9 inches, 6 miles west of McGrath.
• 4.86 inches, 1 mile southeast of Malmo.
• 4 inches, 2 miles northeast of Hackensack.
• 3.47 inches, 3 miles north of Longville.
• 3.42 inches, 3 miles from Outing.
• 2.78 inches, 4 miles northeast of Backus.
• 2.25 inches, 1 mile southwest of Breezy Point.
• 2.23 inches, Crosslake Dam.
• 2.06 inches, 2 miles southeast of Emily.