Snow melt, spring rain may cause localized flooding, road closures
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation wants to caution motorists to be alert for potential of road flooding throughout west central Minnesota. Melting snow, spring rain, and plugged culverts and catch basins can cause water to back up onto highways.
“We are seeing water levels rising quickly and suddenly. In some areas, the water levels recede quickly too, but there are some locations with water on the road for more than 800 feet. MnDOT is monitoring all of these areas closely,” said District 4 operations manager Justin Knopf.
MnDOT crews are working around the clock to make highways safe, control flooding and repair roads when waters recess. When water is over the road, MnDOT places signage and warning lights on site to warn motorists of the change in road condition. In some cases, lanes or other sections of highway may need to be closed if water poses a safety hazard to motorists.
Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups. MnDOT wants to remind all motorists that driving through standing or moving water is dangerous.
“Flooding is very difficult to predict. The most important thing for motorists to remember is that conditions can change very quickly. Whenever you see water over the road, slow down and drive with extreme caution,” said Knopf.
Areas that have water on the road or are closed because of flooding are marked on MnDOT’s road conditions map 511mn.org. It is unlawful to drive through areas where roads are barricaded. Motorists are advised to check 511mn.org before traveling so they’re aware of all flooding locations.