MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota has lost more than a foot of snowpack since Sunday morning. That water has to go somewhere, and that’s bad news for homeowners.
“I’ve never seen it this much. It was almost a foot higher before I started pumping it out,” Josh Tjaden said.
When it rains, it pours. And for Tjaden that means it pours into his south Minneapolis backyard. So does all the snow runoff from his neighbors. It’s a backyard battle that hasn’t turned into a basement battle quite yet. As he pumps the water out, he’s trying to make the most it.
“We were kayaking in the backyard just to have a little fun with it. It’s a bummer, but you try to make a little happy memory out of it as well,” Tjaden said.
For other homeowners, the memories of this March won’t be as enjoyable. Flooded basements have been a problem from Maple Grove to St. Paul.
“All this snow was basically on top of the garage,” Tomas Salazar said.
Salazar runs a landscaping company, but this week he’s been running sump pumps and snow blowers — trying to get water out of homes like this one in Edina.
“It’s long days, you know? Unfortunately for the customers it’s bad news,” said Salazar.
“Complete chaos. It’s unbelievable the amount of chaos that has gone out of here in the last 3 or 4 days,” Joe Young said.
Young is a store manager at Settergren Hardware. He said surface pumps have been flying off the shelves. March is normally a slow month and it’s safe to say the customers coming in would rather be buying grass seed than mops and fans.
“People are in a better mood when their basements aren’t flooding. It’s just a lot better all around,” said Young.
As temperatures dipped back below freezing overnight in the Twin Cities, making sidewalks and residential streets slick with ice, many roads remained closed across Minnesota: In the south, meltwater and rain led to flooding while in the northwest strong winds are creating whiteout conditions.
In southeastern Minnesota, a flood watch was in effect Friday morning. The National Weather Service says minor river flooding was reported along the Cedar, Root, Whitewater and Zumbrota rivers. Meanwhile, across the border in Wisconsin, moderate flooding is expected along the Kickapoo River.
According to MnDOT, a number of highways and interstate exit ramps are closed in southern Minnesota due to flooding. Motorists are advised not to drive around barricades and through standing water.
Closer to the Twin Cities, Minnesota Highway 95 near Cottage Grove was closed in both directions due to flooding, as were Highway 50 and Highway 3 near Farmington. Near Jordan, Sand Creek is experiencing moderate flooding, leading to the voluntary evacuation of a mobile home park.
As temperatures dropped in the Twin Cities overnight amid wind gusts of 20-30 mph, the meltwater and recent rain froze to sidewalks and city streets. Untreated surfaces became glazed with ice, making getting to work tricky for commuters.
Meanwhile, in northwestern Minnesota, the aftermath of a blizzard has all but halted travel. Many highways west of Thief River Falls and along the North Dakota border are closed due to blowing snow and large snowdrifts.
Meteorologist Matt Brickman says Friday is expected to be chilly with possible snow flurries in the afternoon and evening. While temperatures are expected to warm through the weekend, overnight lows will drop below freezing, turning any snowmelt on streets and sidewalks to ice.
Next week, it’ll really start to feel like spring. A warming trend looks lift temperatures through the week, and by Friday, the Twin Cities could see highs near 50 degrees. According to Brickman, the metro hasn’t felt that kind of warmth since Nov. 1.