Reporting Colin Smith
ANOKA, Minn. (WCCO) — A dozen vehicles had to be pulled from high water in Anoka Tuesday morning after a heavy rain swamped an underpass.
Tow trucks were dispatched to the area of 7th Avenue and Highway 10, where more than 2 feet of standing water stranded cars and trucks.
“It was pretty thick, pretty amazing,” witness Jacob Steffen said. “At first, I thought it was an accident because (traffic at) this intersection can be bad in the morning. Then I saw drivers sloshing around and their cars being pulled out of the water.”
The downpour accompanied a storm that swept through the North Metro just after 6 a.m., dumping more than 2 inches of rain in some areas.
Close to the Mississippi River, parts of Anoka are prone to flooding, but rarely this late in the year.
Anoka police said autumn leaves made the problem worse, blocking storm drains and causing the water to rise more quickly.
Also, extreme drought contributed to the flood.
“The ground is so hard and dry there that it doesn’t soak up much moisture,” WCCO meteorologist Mike Lynch said. “Those conditions are ripe for some major runoff like we saw this morning.”
When it comes to drought, 2 inches of rain is really just a drop in the bucket.
“It really was just a very narrow band of rain,” state climatologist Pete Boulay said. “What we really need something much more widespread to put a dent in this drought.”