A Catastrophe in Southeast Minnesota Eight Years Ago
Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - During this time period (August 18-20) eight years ago, residents in southeast Minnesota were dealing with widespread and catastrophic flooding caused by record rain that fell over a two-day period.
The official two-day total at the Rochester airport was 7 inches, including the 5.17 inches that fell on Saturday, August 18, which was the highest daily total ever for the month of August. The two-day total at a recording site in northwest Rochester was just over 11 inches. The heavy rain tested the city’s flood control system of reservoirs and river channels but they held. Still, there was flooding in many parts of the city.
Rainfall in excess of 10 to 12 inches fell in some areas, with the main swath of heaviest rain centered along a line from Claremont and Rochester to La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Heavier rain fell elsewhere. According to a summary of the record event by the Minnesota State Climatology Office, the heaviest rain fell in Winona, Fillmore, and Houston counties, where 36-hour totals exceeded 14 inches. The largest multi-day rainfall total reported was 20.85 inches near the town of Houston in Houston County.
An official National Weather Service climate observer near Hokah reported a storm total of 16.27 inches. Most of the total - 15.10 inches - fell within the observer's 24-hour observation cycle ending at 8:00 AM Sunday, August 19. This is the largest 24-hour rainfall total ever recorded by an official National Weather Service reporting location in Minnesota.
The flooding claimed seven lives and damaged or wiped out hundreds of homes and other buildings. The State Climatology Office later described the disaster as one of the most significant rainfall events in Minnesota’s climate history.
Here is another summary of the event.