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Storm dumps 5-8 inches of rain

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) crews repair mudslide damage on State Highway 68, south of Courtland Monday. The highway was closed while stabilization work is underway.

BROWN COUNTY –Strong thunderstorms producing heavy rain dumped five to eight inches of rain in the area, causing mudslides and road closures Monday.

Heavy rainfall occurred over areas that already received several inches of rain overnight, causing localized flooding, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

A number of urban areas, highways, streets, underpasses, creeks and streams were flooded.

New Ulm Police closed parts of North Front Street and North Highland Avenue due to flooding Monday morning. The roads were reopened later in the morning, but police urged drivers to slow down and use caution in those areas.

The storm dumped more than four inches of rain in the central part of Renville County, western and central Sibley County, much of Nicollet County, southern and eastern Brown County, and parts of Le Sueur County.

More than eight inches of rain was reported in southern Nicollet County. A flash flood warning was posted for southeastern Brown County, southeastern Nicollet County, northern Blue Earth County and southwestern Le Sueur County until 12:30 p.m. Monday.

The NWS advised motorists to report flooding to local law enforcement agencies or the NWS in the Twin Cities when they can do so safely.

“Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles,” read the NWS flood warning.

State Highway 68 from State Highway 15 to just west of Blue Earth County Road 24 (south of Courtland), will remain closed Monday night and until further notice after a large mudslide closed the road Monday morning.

Motorists are asked to use an alternate route or use U.S. Highway 14.

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) officials will monitor the slide area to make sure no more debris slide onto the road.

The slope with the mudslide, just west of CR 24 was extensively damaged in recent years. It was re-stabilized this spring. The new turn had not yet been established. Drainage features became overloaded causing repair work to fail.

When a road is closed, it is illegal to travel in the area. Motorists can be fined up to $1,000 and/or serve 90 days in jail. If travelers need to be rescued from a closed road, other expenses and penalties will apply.

State Highway 93, between U.S. 169 (Le Sueur) and Ridge Road (Henderson), is closed due to flooding. A detour is in operation.

For more information, visit https://water.weather.gov/.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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