Mudslide, flooding impacts Minneapolis parkways

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June 19, 2014 // UPDATED 10:29 am - June 23, 2014
By: Bjorn Saterbak
Photo by Layne Kennedy
Bjorn Saterbak

A mudslide on the University of Minnesota's West Bank Thursday night has temporarily closed West River Parkway.

A portion of the parkway remains closed from 4th Street to Franklin Avenue. (Here's a detour map.) 

The Minneapolis Fire Department responded to reports of the mudslide near 4th Street and West River Parkway around 7:15 p.m., according to a news release. No one was injured and the University of Minnesota Fairview Hospital, which is near the site of the mudslide, is stable.

Impacts from heavy rains this week have been reported throughout the city. 

Minnehaha Creek’s water level at Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis rose more than a foot to 17.64 feet—the highest level recorded since 2006—Thursday as a result of heavy rain, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Thursday’s record rainfall caused Lake Minnetonka’s water level to reach an all-time high of 930.77 feet above sea level, a 2.88-inch increase from Wednesday’s reading.

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is discharging water at a rate of 300 cubic feet per second (cfs), and additional water is flowing over the spillway north of the dam at an estimated rate of 346 cfs. Because of record rainfall this spring, the volume of water in the system has exceeded the Gray’s Bay Dam’s capacity to manage water levels.

Here's the latest update from the city:

Significant flooding from heavy rains this morning is affecting parkways and streets across Minneapolis today. With up to three inches more rain in the forecast for this evening, some streets and intersections will stay closed until tomorrow morning.

The following streets and parkways will remain closed until tomorrow morning. Please avoid these areas and use alternate routes:

·Minnehaha Pkwy, 22nd Avenue to Bloomington Avenue (roadway and paths closed)

·Minnehaha Parkway, 15th Avenue to 10th Avenue (roadway and paths closed)

·Cedar Avenue, 47th Street to 50th Street (Including intersection with Minnehaha Parkway)

·50th Street/Minnehaha Parkway to Taft Street (roadway closed/one path open)

·Lake Harriet (lower road only)

As more rains come this evening, there may be additional street closings due to flooding. Please watch for barricades and do not drive into any street covered with water.

Additionally, walking and bike paths near these areas and around water bodies such as lakes, creeks and rivers may also be affected by heavy rains. Please use caution.

If you see additional areas with localized flooding, report the flooding to 311.

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The American Red Cross is also urging caution to residents across the metro area and around the state. Here are some tips for preparation and response to dangerous flooding conditions:

  • Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warning and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service.
  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of moving water can sweet you off your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than 2 feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
  • Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.