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Minnesota Finally Overcoming Drought, Now Floods Are Possible

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We had a dry fall, winter, and spring – until recently as many parts of the state have received several inches of rain in the past week.

And that could be just enough to lead to some spring flooding.

The city of New Ulm has two rivers – the Minnesota and the Cottonwood – running through it. And right now, Mayor Robert Beussman is keeping a close eye on both, despite the fact that the city is still technically “abnormally dry.”

“It’s been very wet,” he said. “It is weird, but there’s been a lot of rain up river, and it’s all coming this way.”

That rain is trickling down from the west and north where some areas have seen as much as six inches over the past few days.

A couple weeks ago, Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis was far from imposing. Now water is rushing through it. Lawns have turned green seemingly overnight.

And farmers near St. Peter, who once had dreams of getting ahead, are now hoping the rain backs off.

Paul Turbes has lived in New Ulm for 70 years, and every year he keeps a cautious eye on the Cottonwood.

“It’s on a rampage every year,” Turbes said.

The National Weather Service said the river could rise above flood stage by tonight. Turbes said the Cottonwood has flooded out three times in the last two years.

“(If) we get a 6-inch rainfall up west a little ways, this thing is out,” Turbes said. “It’s that fast.”

New Ulm doesn’t expect major flooding, but there could be enough to wash out some roads around town.

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